Wuhan Rounds Up the Infected as Death Toll in China Jumps
China’s government on Thursday accused Taiwan’s governing party of exploiting the coronavirus outbreak to push for Taiwan’s independence, referring to its effort to participate in World Health Organization discussions over the outbreak.
Taiwan, which is self-governed but which China claims is part of its territory, has repeatedly lobbied to be included in panels held by the W.H.O., the United Nation’s health agency. The W.H.O. cannot share information about the virus independently with Taiwan, because the United Nations considers it part of China.
“‘Taiwan independence’ separatists have seized on the opportunity to clamor for participation in the World Health Organization’s discussions, in an attempt to use the epidemic to expand the so-called ‘international space’ of Taiwan,” read a statement from China’s Taiwan Affairs Office on Thursday.
The exclusion of Taiwanese medical experts from international public health meetings during the SARS epidemic of 2002-3 had hampered prevention efforts, said Su Ih-jen, the former director general of the Taiwan Centers for Disease Control.
“The two sides of the Taiwan Strait must extend olive branches at this time, put aside political considerations and work together to fight the epidemic,” he wrote that in an opinion piece for The Times.
The Taiwanese government has been taking tough measures to prevent the virus from infiltrating its borders. Health officials on Thursday banned all international cruise ships from its ports after a 60-year-old Taiwanese woman contracted the virus on a cruise ship now quarantined in Yokohoma, Japan.
Reporting was contributed by Elaine Yu, Daniel Victor, Sui-Lee Wee, Raymond Zhong, Tiffany May, Carlos Tejada, Isabella Kwai, Amy Qin, Elsie Chen, Chris Buckley, Michael Wolgelenter, Motoko Rich, Elisabetta Povoledo, Miriam Jordan, Julie Bosman, Zolan Kanno-Youngs, Katie Robertson, Cliff Krauss, Roni Caryn Rabin, Niraj Chokshi, Vivian Wang and Campbell Robertson.