Taiwan urges PH to ‘quickly’ lift travel ban or else…
Marje Pelayo • February 13, 2020 • 491
TAIPEI, Taiwan (REUTERS) – The island’s government is considering countermeasures if the Philippines does not lift a ban on Taiwanese citizens visiting the country over fears about the coronavirus, the island’s foreign ministry said on Thursday (February 13).
Taiwan’s foreign ministry said they were waiting for the government in Manila to meet to discuss this issue and make a decision, so would not go into specifics about what sanctions Taiwan may impose.
“The government has a plan and doesn’t rule out any possibilities, but before they (the Philippines) have called their meeting (about lifting ban for flights from Taiwan), they haven’t called a meeting yet, and made a decision,” said Taiwan Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Joanne Ou.
Ou said Taiwan wants the Philippines to understand that its decision is one-sided and a wrong move specifically by the Philippines’ health department.
“The main problem is that the health ministry of the Philippines made an unassisted decision on February 10 and immediately notified the Philippine civil aviation authority to request the implementation of such a travel ban (for Taiwanese), leading to this result,” the official noted.
That decision, she emphasized, has already affected the relationship between Taiwan and the Philippines.
“But before it comes to this, we will continue to communicate with the Philippines,” the spokeswoman stressed.
“We of course have already expressed our high degree of discontent, our regret and protest. We hope that the Philippine government can correct this decision as quickly as possible,” she added.
The Philippines, with more than 115,000 of whose nationals work in Taiwan in factories and as domestic helpers, said this week it had included Taiwan as part of a ban on people from China visiting the country.
Taiwan and the Philippines have close economic and cultural ties, but no formal diplomatic relations, as the Philippines, like most countries, only recognises the government in Beijing, and not in Taipei.
Taiwan has repeatedly complained that with its 18 virus cases compared with some 60,000 in China, it is unfair for the WHO to lump them together with China and mislead other countries into believing Taiwan faces an equally dire epidemic.
It is governed entirely separately from China, but Beijing claims the island as its own and the World Health Organization (WHO) clubs its virus cases in the category for China, which has led some countries to impose the same restrictions on Taiwanese as on Chinese citizens.
Japan confirmed ten new cases of novel coronavirus infection on Monday, driving the number of infected patients up to 850.
Of the ten infected, four were in Hokkaido and one of them a teacher. Thus the local authorities decided to suspend classes of the school where the teacher works from Tuesday to March 6.
The total confirmed cases in Tokyo Prefecture reached 32, including three new confirmed cases on Monday.
The Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare confirmed on Monday that a staff member of the Ministry and a quarantine officer who worked at the cruise ship got infected.
So far, six civil servants, two quarantine officers, three staff members of the Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare and a staffer of the Cabinet Secretariat, who worked on Diamond Princess cruise ship have been infected with the disease.
Japanese experts on Monday issued a statement saying the coming one to two weeks will be a critical time for the disease to spread rapidly or subside.
The statement also says confirmed cases without identified infection sources have emerged in several places, implying that the epidemic may speed up spreading and asks the people to avoid gathering. (CCTV via Reuters Connect)
In his first visit to Daegu since the outbreak began, South Korean President Moon Jae-in said on Tuesday (February 25) that the government will “win the fight” against the coronavirus as the number of cases in the country rose to 893.
About 68 percent of South Korea’s cases have been linked to the Shincheonji Church of Jesus. Of 60 new cases reported on Tuesday, 16 were in the southeastern city of Daegu, where the church is located.
Last week the government decided to designate Daegu and neighboring Cheongdo County as “special care zones”.
Moon on Tuesday sought to reassure residents that the government was not considering locking down the area. (South Korea’s Presidential Office via Reuters Connect)
China’s bold approach to contain the rapid spread of the new respiratory pathogen has changed the course of a rapidly escalating and continuously deadly epidemic, said an official with the World Health Organization (WHO) Monday.
Speaking at a press conference in Beijing, Bruce Aylward, head of WHO Experts Advance Team, said China has undertaken aggressive efforts in effectively fighting the virus and its experience will contribute to the global medical community’s knowledge in tackling the virus.
Experts led by Aylward and those from China have just completed a joint mission starting from Feb. 16 and returned from central China’s Wuhan City, the center of the novel coronavirus outbreak.
He said, “But what we found was even though every province was suffering outbreaks and was getting infected, the governors were prioritizing the movement of medical teams and PVE out to Hubei and Wuhan. That’s a very important message for the rest of the world about how we work in the kind of solidarity, collaborative action that’s going to be needed to beat this virus. And the opinion of the joint mission, after looking at it very, very closely and in different ways, that there is no question that China’s bold approach to the rapid spread of this new respiratory pathogen has changed the course of what was a rapidly escalating and continuously be a deadly epidemic.”
China’s efforts have reduced at least 10,000 or even tens of thousands of possible infected cases, and its efforts can be recommended to the rest of the world, he added.
Apart from Wuhan, the 25 experts also visited Beijing, south China’s Guangzhou City and southwest China’s Sichuan Province, and talked to officials, medical workers and the public.
The joint mission found that even though people of all ages can be infected by the virus, the average age of patients is 51. Even as over 3,000 medical staff have been infected, new confirmed cases are on the decline.
“So first of all, the purpose of the mission right now was to look at what works, I’m not avoiding the question, but the purpose was what works. The single biggest lesson is speed, speed is everything. But what worries me most is, has the rest of the world learned the lesson of speed,” he said. (CGTN / CCTV VIA REUTERS CONNECT)
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