TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — A Taiwanese doctor has cautioned against engaging in a witch-hunt and piling blame on medical staff after a hospital in northern Taiwan reported domestic COVID-19 cases.
The Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) confirmed on Saturday (Jan. 16) that at least two doctors and one nurse have tested positive for coronavirus in the country’s first cluster infections. The incident has sparked nationwide fear amid online rumors and accusations about breached protocols in COVID patients' treatment.
In a Facebook post on Sunday (Jan. 17), Chung Shan Medical University Hospital Pediatric Emergency Department Director Hsieh Tsung-hsueh (謝宗學) said Taiwan is experiencing similar circumstances it had faced during the SARS outbreak. During that time, society was largely unprepared for the deadly disease and a large-scale blame game took hold.
“Some agitated people have been sowing division and trying to create rifts to advance their political agenda,” Hsieh said. Witch-hunting and discrimination against the infected will only make it more difficult to identify potential patients and hamper efforts to control the disease.
The physician urged for calm as authorities take stock of the situation and make amends. He suggested that the pandemic is a test for humanity, and he called for empathy and support for front-line medical workers. Hsieh remarked, “Those who think other places are faring better than Taiwan may as well leave the country.”
According to the CECC, vigorous testing, reduced services, and other measures have been implemented at the hospital where cluster infections have occurred. Whether the cluster would exacerbate remains to be seen in the coming two weeks.
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