In a week when Taiwan’s COVID-19 cases rose to 108, President Tsai Ing-wen Thursday appealed to the public to pull together to help defeat the disease.
During her address from the Presidential Office Building in central Taipei, the president said: “the next 14 days will be a critical second stage in the epidemic response effort, and we will need everyone to strengthen their resolve to meet this challenge,” in reports from Taiwan’s official Central News Agency (CNA).
In doing so, she made a trio of requests of the general populace.
Firstly, Tsai asked the public to be aware of guidelines issued by the Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC).
Second, she requested empathy from all, and respect for others at this extraordinary time, especially for those forced to stay at home for quarantine reasons.
Lastly she appealed to common sense in asking people to avoid panicking.
The third request is believed to be in response to talk of panic-buying. Addressing the panic-buying issue head on, Tsai said that “if people are found hoarding supplies or manipulating prices, they will face heavy fines.”
Panic buying has created major issues in several countries including shortages of essentials for medical professionals, and in some cases, public disorder. To date, however, Taiwan has remained free of such issues.
Antiviral Trials Start In Taiwan
In related COVID-19 news Thursday, the CECC announced that trials on the antiviral agent ‘remdesivir’ are underway in Taiwan.
A product of a US based biotech company, remdesivir was initially produced to help counter the Ebola virus. In late January the company producing the drug said it was working with Chinese authorities to help adapt it to work against the coronavirus.
A month later a CECC press release stated that remdesivir had been synthesized in Taiwan. No specifics were released by the CECC in yesterday’s announcement, but it is believed that remdesivir along with a number of other drugs are being used to find a cure to COVID-19.