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President Tsai emphasises Taiwan’s strength and resilience in speech on COVID-19

President Tsai emphasises Taiwan’s strength and resilience in speech on COVID-19

 

On 19 March, President Tsai Ing-wen, accompanied by Vice President Chen Chien-jen, delivered remarks regarding the outbreak of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). The president pointed out that today marks two months since the first confirmed case of COVID-19 was announced in Taiwan, and highlighted international praise for Taiwan’s success in warding off the first wave of imported infections from abroad. She lauded the ability and commitment of the Taiwanese people to come together to fight COVID-19 as “crucial to our success in the first stage of preventing an outbreak.” The president warned that despite Taiwan’s proactive efforts, the second wave of imported infections has quickly come upon the country. Thus, the Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) has implemented drastic measures in response to a second wave of imported infections, including comprehensively tightened border controls and greatly enhanced testing and containment measures. “The next fourteen days will be crucial to the second stage of containing the virus.”

 

The president urged Taiwanese people to fully follow the CECC’s regulations, refrain from hostility and mutual blame as well as avoid causing panic and help to spread accurate information. “At this time, taking care of your own health and the health of your family is the best way to protect our country,” she said. President Tsai expressed gratitude to the national team working to manufacture goods to prevent the spread of the virus. The president offered reassurance that the government has ample supplies of all medical materials prepared. Commenting on the economy, President Tsai stressed that despite the virus’s economic impact, Taiwan’s overall economic performance is still relatively stable compared to other countries. She highlighted the government’s proactive measures in response, including an NT$60 billion disease prevention special budget to accelerate the implementation of industry relief measures as well as NT$40 billion in existing budgets and funds that can be shifted to contingency measures. “These two funding sources amount to a combined total of approximately NT$100 billion that can be directed towards our relief and economic stimulus programme,” the president stated.

 

The president stressed Taiwan’s cooperation with other countries to combat the virus, citing the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and American Institute in Taiwan issuing a Taiwan-US Joint Statement on a Partnership against Coronavirus, strengthening cooperation with the US in joint R&D for rapid tests, vaccines and medicines as well as Academia Sinica and the EU’s in-depth discussions over collaboration to develop preventative and quarantine technology as well as vaccines. “Full international cooperation is the only way to ensure that the international community can win this battle,” the president stressed. The president pointed out the World Health Organization (WHO)’s inability to fully play its role and lead global prevention efforts has led to the global spread of the pandemic. The president called on countries around the world to accelerate cooperation: “Taiwan is willing to contribute our epidemic response capabilities so that together, we can care for the health of humankind. We are putting the goal of ‘Taiwan can help’ into practice.” The president stressed that despite the difficulties, Taiwan will become stronger by overcoming this challenge. “We will do everything we can to control the COVID-19 outbreak and protect our citizens,” she concluded.