Question / Coronavirus: Taiwan

Q Asked by Lord Truscott
Asked on: 09 March 2020

Department of Health and Social Care
Coronavirus: Taiwan / HL2390

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what assessment they have made of the success of measures adopted in Taiwan to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

A Answered by: Lord Bethell
Answered on: 23 March 2020

United Kingdom officials continue to work closely with key multinational partners to ensure that the Government’s response to COVID-19 is guided by the international situation, the advice of organisations such as the World Health Organization, surveillance, data modelling and the recommendations of the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies, which provides expert medical scientific advice.

The Deputy Chief Medical Officer is due to have a conversation with key experts in Taiwan to learn further information about their approach. We are enormously grateful for the support from foreign countries like Taiwan.

 

Question / Taiwan: Coronavirus

Q Asked by Lord Blencathra
Asked on: 13 February 2020

Foreign and Commonwealth Office
Taiwan: Coronavirus / HL1631

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what representations they have made to the World Health Organisation about including the 18 cases of coronavirus on Taiwan with the 40,000 in China; and whether they are concerned that this misrepresents the true position in Taiwan.

A Answered by: Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon
Answered on: 26 February 2020

Alongside a number of like-minded countries, the UK has raised at the highest levels of the World Health Organisation the importance of having accurate data on Taiwan. It is crucial that there is an accurate picture of how the virus is spreading globally. Public Health England reports cases in mainland China, Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (SAR), Macau SAR and Taiwan separately.

 

Question / Taiwan: Coronavirus

Q Asked by Lord Blencathra
Asked on: 13 February 2020

Foreign and Commonwealth Office
Taiwan: Coronavirus / HL1632

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what representations they have made to the World Health Organisation about sharing its information on coronavirus with the government of Taiwan separately from the information that that organisation has shared with the government of China.

A Answered by: Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon
Answered on: 26 February 2020

Alongside a number of like-minded countries, the UK has raised, at the highest levels of the World Health Organisation (WHO), the importance of all states and territories having access to the most up to date information about COVID-19. This is consistent with the UK’s longstanding position that Taiwan should be able to meaningfully participate in international organisations such as the WHO, where statehood is not a prerequisite and it can contribute to the global good.

 

Question / Coronavirus: Taiwan

Q Asked by Lord Blencathra
Asked on: 13 February 2020

Department of Health and Social Care
Coronavirus: Taiwan / HL1634

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what plans they have to ensure that their announcements on the number of cases of coronavirus will disaggregate the figures for Taiwan from those of China.

A Answered by: Lord Bethell
Answered on: 26 February 2020

Public Health England reports separately on cases in mainland China and Taiwan and other places. This data can be found online on the COVID-19: epidemiology, virology and clinical features page on the Government website. As of 25 February 2020, there are 77,658 confirmed cases in mainland China and 31 confirmed cases in Taiwan.

 

Co-Chair and President’s joint letter to Director-General of WHO

Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus
Director-General
World Health Organization
Avenue Appia 20
1211 Geneva
Switzerland

Dear Director-General,

On behalf of the British-Taiwanese All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG), which is comprised of more than 140 members from the two chambers of the UK Parliament, we wish to express our deepest concern over the WHO’s Situation Reports on the 2019 novel coronavirus incorrectly listing Taiwan as part of China.

As you are surely aware, Taiwan is not under China’s jurisdiction, and Taiwan’s and China’s health care systems are administered by separate and independent health authorities. The WHO’s decision to list Taiwan as part of China in its reports therefore seriously hinders the timely exchange of information between the proper authorities. This in turn dangerously undermines the international effort to address this global health emergency which is worsening at a worrying rate.

Listing Taiwan under China in the WHO reports also wrongly suggests that Taiwan, like China, possesses “very high risk” of the 2019 novel coronavirus, while in fact the number of confirmed cases of coronavirus in Taiwan is lower than in most countries that are affected. With very limited cases and zero death toll, the situation in Taiwan in well managed and controlled by its health authority. Thus this incorrect information from the WHO has led to inappropriate policy decisions, like the one recently made by the Italian government to ban flights from Taiwan as of 31 January, causing unnecessary harm to all relevant parties.

Furthermore, the WHO’s treatment of Taiwan as part of China not only means that Taiwan’s democratically-elected government is barred from participating in the WHA, but also that Taiwanese health experts are prevented from taking part in WHO technical meetings. This seriously contradicts with the WHO’s motto of “health for all” and “leaving no one behind”, and renders the pursuit of a seamless global health security network impossible.

For all the reasons above, we respectfully urge the WHO to immediately correct this error of treating Taiwan as part of China, including wrongfully designating Taiwan under China in any reports. We also call upon the WHO to invite Taiwan to attend this year’s WHA as an observer and make proper arrangements to enable Taiwan’s full participation in WHO meetings, mechanisms and activities. We look forward to Taiwan’s timely inclusion in the WHO under your capable leadership.

Yours sincerely,

Rogan 
Lord Rogan, Co-Chair                            Lord Steel of Aikwood, President

Cc.
Ms Kate White, Director for Asia-Pacific, Foreign and Commonwealth Office
Ms Clara Swinson, Director General for Global and Public Health, Department of Health and Social Care

Question / Taiwan: Elections

Q Asked by Lord Steel of Aikwood
Asked on: 15 January 2020

Foreign and Commonwealth Office
Taiwan: Elections / HL476

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what assessment they have made of the outcome of the election in Taiwan; and in particular, of its impact on Hong Kong.

A Answered by: Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon
Answered on: 24 January 2020

The Foreign Secretary’s statement on 11 January noted that the presidential and legislative elections in Taiwan were testament to Taiwan’s vibrant democracy. He congratulated the people of Taiwan on the smooth conduct of those elections and to Dr Tsai Ing-wen and her party on her re-election. The Foreign Secretary expressed his hope that the two sides of the Taiwan Strait would renew dialogue to resolve differences and build constructive relations across the Strait.

We have not yet made an assessment of the impact of the elections in Taiwan on Hong Kong.  It is clear, however, that many people in Hong Kong followed the elections with interest.