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Surge of Omicron cases in Taiwan ‘result of DDP’s political manipulation over anti-epidemic work’

《环球时报》 2022-05-15

A relaxed quarantine policy, low vaccination rate and political manipulation over the anti-epidemic work have contributed to the surge of Omicron cases in Taiwan as the island saw more than 60,000 daily COVID-19 cases for the fourth straight day in the latest wave.

On Sunday, the island of Taiwan announced 68,769 new confirmed cases of COVID-19, of which 68,732 were local ones and 37 imported. The island announced 19 deaths on the day.

From January 1 to May 14, a total of 672,998 cases have been registered in Taiwan, an island with a population of about 23 million. The island reported on Friday a single-day record of 41 COVID-19 deaths, sparking a public backlash.

"The consequence of incompetent preparation against the Omicron has emerged. There is no rapid screening, and insufficient oral medicine, PCR testing kits, medical care and isolation centers. How can we live with the virus?" a netizen from the island asked, questioning the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP)'s epidemic prevention and control policy.

"It's really heartbreaking to see so many people dead. How many people do the DPP authorities want to kill before they give up [the current anti-epidemic policy]?" asked another.

Many netizens in the island blamed DPP authorities for their reckless attempt to coexist with the virus.

A netizen said, "The only three epidemic prevention principles that can save Taiwan: Tsai Ing-wen stepping down, Su Tseng-chang stepping down, and Chen Shih-chung stepping down."

Taiwan announced on Tuesday it was cutting to seven days from 10 days the mandatory quarantine for all arrivals, marking its latest relaxation of the rules to try to live with COVID-19 even as the number of infections spiked.

The DPP authorities, despite being mired in the chaos of the anti-Omicron situation, focused on political theatrics as they expressed gratitude to US President Joe Biden, who signed on Friday a bill into law to help Taiwan "regain observer status" at the World Health Assembly (WHA).

Taiwan island has also been invited to attend the Global COVID-19 Summit convened by Biden on Thursday.

Chinese mainland observers slammed Biden's invitation to the island as being a challenge to the one-China principle and the DPP authorities in the island should feel ashamed of serving as Biden's chess piece.

DPP authorities have been using the epidemic as a political tool to boast its anti-epidemic performance, while suppressing the opposition and deteriorating cross-Straits ties so as to inch closer to the US, said Xin Qiang, deputy director of the Center for American Studies at Fudan University.

A latest statistical investigation conducted by a big data analysis agency Keypo in the island showed that online negative views of Taiwan regional leader and senior politician Tsai Ing-wen and epidemic official Chen Shih-chung had increased.

The survey said from April 13 to May 10, favorable views of Tsai fell by nearly five percentage points. Also, as the commander of the epidemic control center in the island, Chen's favorability rating dropped by 10.23 percentage points while negative comments toward him increased by nearly 40 percent in the past two weeks.

If the DPP authorities continue their sloth-like epidemic prevention and control measures and even relax the previous measures, while putting the issue of COVID-19 under political manipulation and following the US - a country just witnessed 1 million COVID-19 deaths - the island will suffer from an unprecedented shock brought by the Omicron epidemic and more people in the island will be victims due to the chaotic anti-epidemic work, Xin warned.