Approval rating of Tsai drops to historic low as Taiwan’s COVID mortality rate continues to climb
Published: Jun 10, 2022 07:37 PM
Tsai Ing-wen Photo:AFP

Taiwan's regional leader Tsai Ing-wen Photo:AFP

The approval rating of Taiwan's regional leader Tsai Ing-wen has dropped to a historic low since the start of her second term, as the island's COVID-19 mortality rate broke through the warning line of one in 1,000. Chinese mainland experts said for the secessionist Democratic Progressive Party (DPP), which has long touted its success in COVID-19 control, the failure in the ongoing outbreak has made it a joke.

The epidemic command center in Taiwan announced 68,311 local COVID-19 cases and a single-day record 213 deaths on Friday, bringing the region's total case count and death toll to 2.76 million and 3,797 respectively.  

Mortality rate on the island has exceeded 1 in 1,000 for three consecutive days, but Taiwan's health chief Chen Shih-chung said "it is worth watching closely, but there is nothing unusual."

But public health experts in Taiwan expressed their concerns. Chan Chang-chuan, professor at the College of Public Health at "National Taiwan University" (NTU), shared his data through a Facebook post Thursday that Taiwan region ranked second-fastest globally in terms of the time needed for death numbers to double. It took Taiwan region 13 days, compared to 81 days for South Korea, and 298 for Japan, to see the death toll double.

Huang Li-ming, chairman of department of pediatrics under the NTU hospital, said on Friday that many COVID-19 patients in Taiwan died within three to five days after detection due to late diagnosis, which is a real "dangerous sign." As of June 9, about 46 percent of local patients had died within three days of the onset of the symptoms, he noted. 

What makes Taiwan compatriots even more concerned is the COVID-19 threat to children's lives. So far, there have been 43 severe cases in children under 12 years of age, including 17 deaths.

Amid the ravages of the epidemic, the latest poll released by local media TVBS on Thursday showed that 36 percent of Taiwan residents were satisfied with Tsai's performance in her second term in office, the lowest since her re-election. Close to 50 percent of Taiwan's public said they were dissatisfied with Tsai, media reported. 

The grave epidemic situation in Taiwan reflects the failure and incompetence of the DPP led by Tsai, Wang Jianmin, a senior cross-Straits expert at Minnan Normal University, told the Global Times on Friday.

"The handling of outbreak also proved that Taiwan's medical and health facilities are inadequate and cannot take care of a large number of patients at the same time, which is completely inconsistent with Taiwan's claim that it has advanced medical and health infrastructure," Wang said. 

DPP's latest fiasco reminds the expert of a previous one in 2021. Due to the poor management, the number of people who died after vaccination, which was 850, exceeded the confirmed death toll of 845 on October 7, 2021 in Taiwan island.

Wang said the 36 percent of approval rating is still too high for Tsai's actual performance. "In any place where a public health crisis was so badly handled and people's lives were treated carelessly with no respect, the authorities should resign." 

Taiwan authorities recently signed the fourth arms sales deal with the US since Joe Biden took office, and met with a Slovakian delegation. On Friday, Tsai is also scheduled to deliver a video speech at the "Copenhagen Democracy Summit."

Compared with improving people's livelihood, the DPP authorities are clearly more interested in political tricks for secession.