Coronavirus: critics ask why Taiwan’s death rate is higher than the global pandemic average

June 9, 2021 GMT

Taiwan has reported a rapidly rising death toll in the widening coronavirus outbreak that saw a further 275 infections and 25 new deaths on Wednesday.

The island’s Central Epidemic Command Centre reported an accumulated total of 11,968 infections with 333 deaths by Wednesday, up from just 2,017 cases with 12 deaths recorded on May 17.

In less than a month, Taiwan’s fatality-per-infection rate has jumped from 0.59 per cent to 2.78 per cent, a number higher than the global average of 2.14 per cent.

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The high fatality rate has raised concern in the public with critics saying the government has not done enough to curb the outbreak.

“What has the government done wrong to have our Covid-19 fatality rate going even higher than the average global rate,” said Cheng Li-wen, a legislator of the main opposition Kuomintang party, in a recent Facebook post.

Taiwan was once lauded as one of the world’s models of keeping the pandemic at bay but since late April it has had a spike in locally transmitted infections ” from fewer than 1,000 cases to more than 11,000.

At a legislature meeting on Tuesday, Cheng’s colleague Tseng Ming-chung asked Chen if Taiwan had a shortage of medicine that could effectively cure the patients, a potential cause of the rising coronavirus death toll on the island.

In response, Chen said the island had adequate medication for Covid-19 patients. He said the high death rate was mainly because of the acute rise in cases in the past month and because many patients had pre-existing chronic diseases.

He apologised for the rise in the number of deaths, saying the government cared about every single person’s life on the island.

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