CHINA / SOCIETY
Taiwan public criticize DPP authorities for suspected concealment of COVID-19 data
Published: May 23, 2021 10:43 PM
Military personnel sprays disinfectants while residents are waiting to get tested for COVID-19 in Wanhua on May 21. Photo: VCG

Military personnel sprays disinfectants while residents are waiting to get tested for COVID-19 in Wanhua on May 21. Photo: VCG

As the island of Taiwan reported 321 new local COVID-19 cases on Saturday, along with 400 cases over the previous six days whose positive tests were not included in previous reports, head of the island's health authority denied that it had concealed the 400 cases, saying that it was a result of the slow reporting. But the public apparently didn't buy the explanation, urging the authority not to put a good face on the new outbreak.

Observers on the island said the explanation exposed the lies and arrogance of the pro-secessionism Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) authorities, saying that Tsai Ing-wen's government is trying to fool people.

According to Taiwan media outlet Taiwan News, the extra numbers led netizens to question the legitimacy of the island's total case counts.

The official - Chen Shih-chung, who also heads the Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) of the island - said on Saturday that COVID-19 test results are usually available within two days, and it is normal for there to be a discrepancy between the number of people taking the tests and that of test results. 

However, the discrepancy had expanded to more than 10,000 cases on Wednesday, prompting the CECC to investigate the situation. He said the center processed 14,000 unreported results, of which 400 had come back positive.

Chen called the delayed report a "correction" while stressing that it's definitely not the case that the command center received the data but didn't report it to the public.

The latest figures showed the outbreak had not "exploded," said Chen. He noted that there was no need to move the alert level up, which would include localized lockdowns where the situation is especially severe, Taiwan media reported.

The remarks sparked a backlash on social media on the island.

"This is concealment," read a typical comment.

It seems that the infection data is "adjustable and controllable," said netizens.

"Why not simply rectify the data after 20 years, then we can now have zero cases every day," said another.

"Isn't the extra data the new cases? Such a new trick," read another comment.

Chang Ya-chung, a Taipei-based political scientist and member of the Kuomintang, condemned the DPP authorities, who always criticized others' anti-epidemic policies, and said that they actually failed to deal with the new outbreak. 

The official simply called the delayed report "rectification" or "correction," and "magically" made the confirmed cases seemingly drop, which aimed to appease public anxiety, Chang said. 

The health official is trying to make Taiwan pretend to be an "excellent student" in combating the pandemic, which is in line with the Tsai government's lies on epidemic prevention and control, Chang pointed out.

Chang said that the delayed report was mainly intended to make the epidemic "explosion" seemingly come after the inauguration anniversary of Tsai on May 20, and make her opinion polls less embarrassing.

But the "false peace" strategy will only make the epidemic worsen, which will further trigger public discontent, Chang noted.

The observers urged the DPP authorities to stop such tricks, which could lead Taiwan into a bigger crisis.

The island on Sunday confirmed 287 indigenous cases, three imported cases and retroactively added 170 cases to the total for last week. Since May 16, Taiwan has reported more than 200 local cases every day without adding the retroactive cases. 


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