Taiwan acknowledges there is room to improve response to COVID-19

Taiwan acknowledges there is room to improve response to COVID-19

Taipei The task force responsible for Taiwan’s response to COVID-19 has acknowledged that the island could have been better at fighting the disease, after 12 families who lost relatives due to the pandemic filed for financial compensation from the government.

The families claim that the authorities were unprepared despite the fact that over a year has passed during which there have been few cases, resulting in death and needless suffering.

Taiwan has largely kept the coronavirus at bay for about a year and a half, with 1,199 cases and 12 deaths as of May 10. 848 deaths.

Asked about the families’ claim, the Central Epidemic Command Center said the island’s initial success in keeping the virus out resulted in there not being enough tests for COVID-19 to detect it.

“Taiwan has been effective in closing its borders, but there is still room to improve its defenses within its borders,” she said in a statement provided to the Associated Press. “Because previous pandemic control measures were appropriate, there was no need for widespread COVID-19 testing, and because of this the surveillance system was not able to detect asymptomatic carriers. In addition, the public’s willingness to vaccinate was low.”

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Lawyers representing the families submitted an application for a national compensation case last week to both the Ministry of Health and Welfare, which oversees the Central Epidemic Control Center, and the Yuan Executive Board, Taiwan’s cabinet.

A statement issued by the Yuan Executive on Thursday expressed sympathy, but did not take a position on compensation.

She added, “The government expresses our sympathy for the families’ deaths, and regarding the legal procedures for seeking compensation, the ‘Executive Yuan’ respects their request and will ask the responsible authorities to follow the law and provide assistance accordingly.”

Family members say that at the height of the outbreak, loved ones did not have access to drugs such as antibody therapies widely used in the United States and elsewhere to prevent cases from becoming more serious.

The Central Epidemic Control Center said that when the outbreak was at its peak in mid-May, the island had no antibody treatments and only 1,800 units of Remdesivir, an antiviral drug. Both are used to treat COVID-19.

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However, she mostly defended her response, saying she had put in place many controls. “We were able to suppress widespread community spread and expedite the procurement of vaccines and vaccines,” she said.

The task force did not respond when asked if it had decided to purchase antibody drugs before the outbreak in May.

The families also said that medicines such as Remdesivir were off-limits to widespread use and doctors had to apply for permission from central health authorities to use them.

The Center for Epidemiology said it looked at drugs in 10 of the most advanced countries that received emergency approval — including US government guidelines, expert opinions and research data — before adding antibody therapies to treatment guidelines for doctors in early June.

The US Food and Drug Administration approved the emergency use of one antibody treatment in November 2020 and the other in February of this year.

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Taiwan now records new daily cases in single numbers and has enough Remdesivir to treat about 11,000 patients and antibody treatments for 4,700 people.

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