Taiwan's early warning over human-to-human transmission go unheeded? | Updated: 2020-04-30 09:40

The following is one of the 16 most common rumors about the COVID-19 epidemic related to China, compiled and published by the Chinese embassy in Germany. The original version was published in Chinese and German. China Daily did some minor editing and updated a few figures in translation.

People wearing masks walk on street in Taipei, Taiwan, March 30, 2020. [Photo/Xinhua]

Rumor: Taiwan notified the WHO on Dec 31, 2019 about human-to-human transmission of the novel coronavirus, but the warning went unheeded.

Fact: Taiwan did not notify the WHO. It was seeking information from the WHO after Wuhan publicly reported cases of unknown pneumonia.

On Dec 31, 2019, after Wuhan announced that the city had detected cases of pneumonia with unknown cause, health authorities in Taiwan contacted the National Health Commission to ask information over the situation, and received a timely written response from the commission. On the same day, health authorities in Taiwan sent a request to the WHO for further information (Details shown below), but mentioned nothing about human-to-human transmission. It is evident that the Chinese mainland first released the information and the Taiwan authority just relayed the information, instead of taking the lead to report the situation to the WHO.

The WHO has clarified on multiple occasions that Taiwan of China has not warned the organization, but simply asked for more information. Before Taiwan's email, the WHO had already received several other inquiry emails. On April 20, 2020, the WHO reiterated this point at a news conference. (Starts from 15th minute)

Taiwan of China confirmed its first COVID-19 infection on Jan 21. Before that, the local authorities did not have any clinical evidence about the epidemic, thus it was impossible for them to conclude if there was human-to-human transmission. Under such circumstances, how could people trust the claim from the Taiwan side that it had warned the virus could be transmitted among humans?

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