China and the WHO are in the best positions to predict how the COVID-19 pandemic will develop, but most people do not trust Beijing and the WHO remains muted, Minister of Health and Welfare Chen Shih-chung (陳時中) said yesterday in response to queries by a foreign delegate.
During the Central Epidemic Command Center’s (CECC) daily news conference, Chen, who heads the center, shared a discussion he had with foreign representatives in Taiwan during a meeting at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs that morning.
He briefed them on Taiwan’s quarantine policy and next-stage border control measures, Chen said, adding that they expressed respect for the policies the nation had implemented.
One foreign representative asked him when the global outbreak might peak, but he told them that he could not make a forecast, Chen said.
“While we can see certain changes and trends, a definite end is not in view,” he said.
Only two parties can make such a prediction — China and the WHO, he said.
China has reported the world’s most confirmed cases and knows the most about how the disease arose, but its statements are not trusted by most people, Chen said.
The WHO can also make a judgement, yet it remains muted on the issue, despite having many health experts and a lot of documentation, he said.
His remarks about China and the WHO found agreement among the representatives, he said.
While Taiwan is not in a position to predict the disease’s future, the government would prepare as well as it could with a worst-case scenario in mind, he said.
Although Chen did not name any Chinese or WHO members at the news conference, Vice President Chen Chien-jen (陳建仁), an epidemiologist by training, on Wednesday criticized WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, and on Thursday said that the world health body’s declaration of COVID-19 as a pandemic was “too late.”
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs in a statement yesterday said that the delegates were from nearly 60 foreign countries and international organizations, and the meeting was attended by Minister of Foreign Affairs Joseph Wu (吳釗燮) and other officials.
Invited by Wu to conduct the briefing, Chen Shih-chung spoke about Taiwan’s border quarantine measures and travel warning standards, and said that the measures would be constantly updated according to the global situation, the statement said.
They lauded Taiwan’s effective and proactive action in containing the disease, its complete and flexible complementary measures, and its willingness to help those in need and share its successes with the world, the ministry said.
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