Top WHO doctor Bruce Aylward ends video call after journalist asks about Taiwan’s status

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TAIPEI (Reuters) - The World Health Organization (WHO) is closely following the development of the coronavirus in Taiwan and is learning lessons from how they are fighting it, the body said on Sunday, after complaints from Taiwan it was being intentionally ignored.

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Taiwan is not a member of the WHO due to the objections of China, which claims the democratic and separately-ruled island as its own.

Taiwan’s government has said that keeping it out of the WHO during the outbreak amounts to playing politics with Taiwanese lives. Both the WHO and China say Taiwan has been provided with the help it needs.

Taiwan last week said the WHO ignored its questions at the start of the coronavirus outbreak, part of what it has long described as a pattern that puts it at risk because of Chinese pressure to exclude it from international bodies.

Taiwan has reported 298 cases, far lower than many of its neighbors, and has won plaudits from health experts for its early response and measures to keep the numbers low.


On Sunday, Taiwan Foreign Minister Joseph Wu tweeted a complaint to the WHO, following an interview WHO Assistant Director-General Bruce Aylward did with a Hong Kong reporter in which he declined to answer questions about Taiwan and whether it should be a WHO member.


 
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