Taiwan and the coronavirus

 

Sir, – Although it remains unclear how much of a threat the coronavirus remains to the global population, as Ida Milne writes in The Irish Times, it is certain that the advantages of data sharing and accurate information cannot be underestimated (“Just how scared should we be of Wuhan coronavirus?”, Opinion & Analysis, February 6th).

In this respect, the issue of Taiwan’s exclusion from the World Health Organisation (WHO) should be at the forefront of any discussion in how best to combat global health concerns that have arisen as the result of the outbreak which has emanated from Wuhan, China.

As a country on the forefront of this health emergency, located less than 140 miles from mainland China’s coast, the decision to exclude Taiwan from participation in the WHO objectives and operations has proved imprudent and ill-considered. Taiwan’s geography, knowledge, and expertise are crucial factors that can assist in a comprehensive response to this crisis at this moment of international uncertainty.

The world is less than two decades removed from the 2003 Sars outbreak at a time when Taiwan’s inability to directly engage with the WHO at that time proved costly, and to repeat the mistakes of the past could hurt the well-being of the global community.

It is time to cease further ostracising the island nation if the world wishes to mitigate the risk of this outbreak developing in to a pandemic. – Yours, etc,

Dr PIERRE YANG,

Representative,

Taipei Representative

Office in Ireland, Dublin 2.