A nurse works on the injection space throughout a vaccination session for healthcare staff following the current rise in coronavirus illness (COVID-19) infections, at Far Jap Memorial Hospital in New Taipei Metropolis, Taiwan Could 20, 2021. REUTERS/Ann Wang

Taiwan’s well being minister mentioned on Friday he had spoken to his U.S. counterpart to ask for assist in acquiring COVID-19 vaccines amid a spike in infections on the island and the U.S. well being secretary would take the matter to President Joe Biden.

Having for months been held up for example of cease the virus in its tracks, Taiwan has over the previous two weeks reported a spiralling variety of infections locally, with some 1,800 circumstances.

Well being Minister Chen Shih-chung mentioned the scenario remained at its peak however there have been no “sudden conditions” that had arisen, with authorities in a position to observe the sources of most infections.

Taiwan’s battle in opposition to the virus has been sophisticated by a scarcity of vaccines, with solely about 700,000 arriving to this point, together with 410,000 this week, all AstraZeneca Plc (AZN.L) photographs.

Chen mentioned he had spoken with Well being and Human Providers (HHS) Secretary Xavier Becerra on a video convention name about medical cooperation, the very best stage contact between the 2 governments since Biden was inaugurated in January.

“Extra importantly, we introduced up that Taiwan’s pandemic is rising, and at this level we’ve got an pressing want for vaccines, and hope he can assist Taiwan in the case of the vaccines the USA are going to launch,” Chen mentioned.

In response, Chen mentioned Becerra mentioned Taiwan’s wants might be thought-about and he’ll take the matter to the president.

An announcement from the HHS’ Workplace of International Affairs on Twitter mentioned the U.S. helps Taiwan’s skill to entry vaccines, its contributions to well being safety, and its return to observership on the World Well being Group’s decision-making physique the World Well being Assemble, which China has blocked.

Biden mentioned this week he’ll ship at the least 20 million extra COVID-19 vaccine doses overseas by the tip of June, marking the primary time the USA is sharing vaccines authorised for home use. read more

America, like most international locations, has no formal diplomatic relations with Chinese language-claimed Taiwan, and Beijing routinely condemns any high-level contacts between Washington and Taipei.

China reacted with fury when Alex Azar, the Trump administration’s well being secretary, got here to Taipei in August, sending fighter jets close to the island.

Taiwan’s present spike in home COVID-19 infections has not quickly accelerated, with the island reporting 312 new circumstances on Friday, a slight rise from the 286 reported on Thursday.

Chen mentioned this weekend can be essential in bringing the pandemic below management and he referred to as on individuals to remain at house as a lot as potential.

“If the circulate of individuals may be lowered to a minimal throughout these two days, the chain of transmission might be steadily minimize off, which might be very helpful,” he mentioned.

Our Requirements: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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