WHO must stop sidelining Taiwan

 

Sir, – In response to recent comments by World Health Organisation director general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus criticising China’s “zero Covid” policy as “not sustainable”, coupled with China’s indignant reaction to these claims (World, May 11th), Taiwan wishes to express its desire to participate in the upcoming World Health Assembly as an observer.

At the outbreak of the global pandemic in early 2020, Taiwan acted early and aggressively in promoting a zero Covid policy to ensure that the pandemic did not stifle its people, its economy, or way of life. However, as with many aspects of the pandemic, the science and our understanding of the virus and its variants was in constant flux, causing Taiwan to modify its approach from one of zero Covid to living with and managing the disease.

As a proud democracy, Taiwan successfully achieved such a swift change in direction not through the threat of force, but by open and clear communication with its citizens surrounding the information and reality of this global health crisis. The willingness and ability of Taiwan to adapt to the ever-changing circumstances of the Covid-19 pandemic is a hallmark of modern science, characteristics that have become increasingly important in our ability to perform, collaborate, and thrive as a global community, particularly as it relates to issues of global public health.

With these considerations in mind, Taiwan once again urges the World Health Organisation to permit its attendance at the World Health Assembly in Geneva from May 22nd to 28th as an observer. The issue of global public health should not be one that is cowed to political considerations, with Taiwan standing firm and ready to play its part in strengthening global public health, as well as to share its expertise and experience, in response to and preparation for future crises of this nature. – Yours, etc,

PIERRE TP YANG,

Representative,

Taipei Representative

Office in Ireland,

Dublin 2.