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Taiwan Tati Cultural and Educational Foundation

Vaccination program preparations

Minister of Health and Welfare Chen Shih-chung’s (陳時中) introduction of “regression calibration” — backlogging — of local COVID-19 cases has caused a lively public debate. Politicians and supporters from both the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) and the opposition parties have engaged in a never-ending argument over the concept in the media.

Such correction of data is a global practice, and to argue over the issue is in no way beneficial to pandemic prevention. The virus knows no borders, nor does it pick one ethnic group or political party over another — we are all in the same boat, so if we are to defeat the virus, we must work together. Every Taiwanese should put political affiliation aside and focus their attention and social debate on important, practical matters.

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Wuhan lab leak tip of iceberg

As politicians squabble over who is to blame for a nationwide spike in COVID-19 infections since earlier this month, it is important not to forget where the virus originated and who is responsible for a manifestly containable epidemic mushrooming into a ruinous global pandemic.

Eighteen eminent scientists, including a Stanford University microbiologist and Harvard University epidemiologist, in an open letter published in Science on May 13 called into question the WHO’s conclusion that it is “extremely unlikely” that COVID-19 leaked from China’s Wuhan Institute of Virology. In the letter, the scientists wrote that theories of accidental release remain “viable” and deserve “a proper investigation.”

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Time to rethink trash collection

As the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases continues to increase in Taiwan, it is important to identify all potential scenarios in which the virus can spread.

With a level 3 COVID-19 alert implemented nationwide, many precautions are already in place. Mask wearing outside, and in public spaces and office buildings, is mandatory, schools are closed, restaurants no longer offer inside dining, identification for contact tracing purposes is required before entering buildings and stores, and companies are increasingly allowing or requiring employees to work from home. Social distancing is encouraged.

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The Kinmen and Matsu challenge

Chiseled into rock in Kinmen County’s Jinhu Township (金湖) are the Chinese characters for one of Chiang Kai-shek’s (蔣介石) favorite memes. Translated they read: “Remember our days at Ju” (毋忘在莒), referencing the Warring States period when the armies of the state of Qi were forced to retreat to the city of Ju. Once there, they regrouped and returned to regain their lost territory.

That meme serves as an important yet also an ironic reference in understanding the “limbo state” of Taiwan and why it needs to break its nebulous past with Kinmen and Matsu.

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Witch hunts hindering contact tracing

As the COVID-19 pandemic becomes increasingly severe, there have been several instances of people who tested positive for the disease hiding information from investigators during contact tracing. To ensure that all confirmed cases and their respective contacts tell the truth during contact tracing, people should stop encouraging witch hunts and ridiculing confirmed cases.

As the number of COVID-19 cases in Taiwan has been low, most people have looked at every case as exceptional. Under such circumstances, the public has focused on the movement of confirmed cases and speculated about their private lives as they tried to figure out how they had been infected. That approach does little to help the situation, and it could even punch a hole in the nation’s epidemic prevention armor.

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Taiwan must choose war or peace

Some Taiwanese politicians have been saying that tensions in the Taiwan Strait are the result of provocations by the US and other Western countries supporting Taiwan and vilifying China.

A democracy guarantees freedom of expression, but it also has the right to protect itself, so here is a reproach to those politicians.

When domestic politics functions normally in a democracy, it is worth paying attention to public opinion polls. It is unlikely that the view of those politicians has entered mainstream public opinion.

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Newsflash


A policeman direct pedestrians as demonstrators shout slogans before a march for democracy in Hong Kong yesterday.
Photo: AFP

Thousands of pro-democracy protesters took to the streets of Hong Kong yesterday for the first time since mass demonstrations shut down parts of the territory for more than two months during the Umbrella movement from Sept. 26 to Dec. 15 last year.