Letter from Representative – Taipei Liaison Office in the Republic of South Africa
I am writing to express my concern over the latest travel restrictions Mauritius Government imposed on passengers from Taiwan in light of the recent development of the novel corona virus (COVID-19)
The official statement released by the Mauritius Ministry of Health and Wellness states that the above restrictions are placed only on passengers having resided in China or with a history of travel to and from China within the last 14 days, but the Mauritius Government recently seemed to have included Taiwan in this travel ban.
In fact, Taiwan is not part of the People’s Republic of China (PRC), neither under China’s jurisdiction. The health and disease control in Taiwan and China are administered by separate and independent authorities. It is evident that Taiwan implements a much stricter and advanced monitoring and surveillance system. As a result, as of 18 February 2020, while China registers more than 72,000 COVID-19 confirmed cases, Taiwan has only 22, much fewer than the number of confirmed cases in most Asian countries. Taiwan apparently should not be considered as a threat for dissemination of the virus and the ban placed on Taiwan according to the definition of the World Health Organisation is purely groundless.
Currently about 600 Taiwanese fishing vessels call at Port Louis harbour every year and related fishing activities at the port make a significant contribution to the local economy. Prohibiting Taiwanese travellers from entering Mauritius will not only lead to loss of the local tourism industry, but brings substantial damage to the fishing industry and local economy in Mauritius.
At this critical time, I earnestly hope that the Mauritius Government will re-examine its admission restrictions and lift its travel ban on Taiwan as soon as possible based on facts and the real situation of the epidemic. To implement a set of just and impartial disease control measures will help every nation more effectively prevent the further spread of the COVID-19 without hurting its cooperation and exchanges activities with its economic and trade partners.
Matthew W. Chou
Taipei Liaison Office in the Republic of South Africa
* Published in print edition on 21 February 2020