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The Truth on the So-called "China blocking Taiwan's bid to join WHO"

2020-05-13 10:01

Allegation 12: China has blocked Taiwan’s bid to join WHO, putting the health of the people in Taiwan at risk.

Reality Check: Taiwan, being part of China, has no right to join WHO, whose membership requires sovereign statehood. The technical cooperation channel between China’s Taiwan and WHO is unimpeded.

◆Only UN Member States are eligible to join WHO, a specialized UN agency composed of sovereign states. Taiwan, being part of China, has no right to apply for WHO membership.

◆Upon its accession to the International Health Regulations (2005) (IHR), China stated that the IHR applies to the entire territory of the People’s Republic of China, including the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, the Macao Special Administrative Region and the Taiwan Province.

◆As agreed upon by the Chinese government and WHO, a WHO IHR Contact Point has been set up in China’s Taiwan and the region has an account to access the WHO Event Information Site for the timely updates on global public health emergencies released by WHO. There is no barrier to technical cooperation between China’s Taiwan and WHO. Between early 2019 and early May 2020, 24 person times from 16 expert groups of Taiwan attended the technical conferences held by WHO.

◆Since the start of COVID-19, China’s National Health Commission has provided timely information to the Taiwan region. As of 6 May, China’s mainland had updated Taiwan on the situation 148 times. In mid-January, the mainland arranged a field visit to Wuhan for experts from Taiwan to help them learn more about the diagnosis and treatment of confirmed cases and COVID-19 response measures.

Allegation 13: Taiwan gave warning to WHO about human-to-human transmission of COVID-19 as early as 31 December 2019, but it was not taken seriously.

Reality Check: The Taiwan region of China did not send any warning to WHO. What it did was asking for more information from the organization after the Wuhan Municipal Health Commission reported the disease.

◆After Wuhan reported cases of pneumonia of unknown cause on 31 December 2019, the local health department in Taiwan sent a letter to the National Health Commission (NHC) inquiring about the information released by the Wuhan Municipal Health Commission. The NHC promptly made a written reply through the designated contact points specified in the Cross-Strait Cooperation Agreement on Medicine and Public Health Affairs. On the same day, the health department in Taiwan sent the so-called “warning email” to WHO. The email made no reference to human-to-human transmission. It was primarily an inquiry about information from WHO. The facts are clear. It was the mainland of China who first released the information, and the health department in Taiwan

merely relayed the message. There is no such thing as “Taiwan reported to WHO first”.

◆WHO has made it clear time and again that the Taiwan region of China did not give it “warning”, but was purely requesting relevant information. WHO had already received multiple inquiry emails from other sides before Taiwan sent the email. On 20 April, WHO again clarified the matter at its press briefing, noting that it was not until 21 January that the first COVID-19 case was confirmed in China’s Taiwan region. Prior to that, Taiwan did not have any first-hand information on clinical cases, let alone the ability to determine whether there was human-to-human transmission.

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