Taiwan Newsletter Issue 147

Headline News


Taiwanese doctor creates cheap protective device for protecting physicians

Anesthesiologist Lai Hsien-yung of the Mennonite Christian Hospital in Hualien, Taiwan, designed a simple protective device "Aerosol Box," for additional protection for physicians performing endotracheal intubations and helping health care providers to overcome supply shortages created by the coronavirus pandemic.


The Aerosol Box is a transparent cube made of acrylic or polycarbonate that covers a patient's head during endotracheal intubation, a necessary procedure for infected new coronavirus disease (COVID-19) patients who suffer respiratory failure. It has two holes on one side through which physicians can insert their hands to perform the procedure while being shielded from the patient's respiratory droplets.


The design of the Aerosol Box is registered under a Creative Commons license and is shared for free by Dr. Lai on condition that it is not used for commercial purposes and be properly attributed to the inventor.


WHO ignored Taiwan's warnings about coronavirus in December


The Ministry of Foreign Affairs on Tuesday (March 24) confirmed that it had warned the World Health Organization (WHO) about the human-to-human transmission of the Wuhan coronavirus (COVID-19) in December of last year.


The confirmation followed after U.S. Department of State spokeswoman Morgan Ortagus on Tuesday (March 24) pointed out that Taiwan had tried to warn the WHO about human-to-human transmission on the same day of China’s issued statement, stating that it "had not found any obvious human-to-human transmission." Ortagus then pointed out that China tried to cover up this fact, with the Wuhan Public Security Bureau issuing a summons to whistleblower doctor Li Wenliang for "spreading rumors" on Jan. 1.


The WHO had responded to Taiwan by saying that it would transfer the information to experts for processing, but the WHO did not publish the requested information on its internal website.


Taiwan and U.S. step up cooperation against virus


On March 18, Taiwan's Foreign Minister Joseph Wu announced a Taiwan-U.S. joint statement in which the two countries agreed to step up the cooperation in the development of rapid tests, drugs and vaccines and in exchanges of medical supplies and equipment to battle the Wuhan coronavirus (COVID-19).


Minister Wu said that once production levels stabilize, Taiwan will supply 100,000 surgical face masks to the U.S. weekly. For its part, the U.S. will be reserving 300,000 hazmat suits for Taiwan.


Taiwan to share coronavirus containment tactics


Taiwan will “share its tactics in combating the coronavirus based on the spirit of openness and mutual assistance. Only when the international community fully cooperates can we ensure the whole world achieves victory in this battle,” said President Tsai Ing-wen adding that the United Nations health agency has failed to successfully lead global efforts to contain the virus' spread.


Vice President Chen Chien-jen, a reputable epidemiologist, said to have received requests for advice from notable research universities in the U.S. as well as from scholars in Japan, Hong Kong, and the U.K. over the last few weeks.


In addition, Taiwan’s Academia Sinica, the country's top government research institute, said it had convened with European Union representatives to discuss possible collaborations.


Taiwan's corona success explained in “Nieuwsuur”


Taiwan’s relatively success approach in tackling corona, is explained by Professor Jason Wang of Stanford University and Chang-Chuan Chan, Dean of the National Taiwan University College of Public Health, in Dutch news and current affairs program “Nieuwsuur” on NPO2:




Do you wash your hands correctly?


Besides advising people to wear a face mask, health officials also urge everyone to frequently wash hands to prevent being infected with the virus.


Check the instructions for washing hands correctly on this video: