Taiwan seeks damages from Iran, other neighbors as epidemic mounts in Asia

Taiwan has appealed to businesses and unions to voice their concerns about the impact of this month’s outbreak of the new coronavirus in China and other countries, saying they would be willing to share losses with affected countries.

On Sunday, Taiwan reported four new cases, bringing the death toll to 24. It confirmed five incidents in the past 24 hours, marking the highest daily death toll since the beginning of the outbreak on March 30.

Taiwan has held off from officially calling the outbreak a “public health emergency of international concern”, saying such a declaration would elevate its reputation.

“I still cannot credit the quick reaction of the Japanese government, ” said Wu Xingfu, president of Japan’s High-Risk Management Association, in an email to Reuters, adding he had asked the Ministry of Health to “repurpose” the World Health Organisation’s slogan to make it fit Taiwan’s cases.

The government has said the virus is circulating in China, which also has confirmed four cases in Japan and two in South Korea.

Last week Taiwan immigration authorities displayed automatic “red alert” badge to show that they were not interfering with medical procedures.

After the addition, Wu’s association said its co-workers and the public should remember the viral outbreak in Taiwan and the associated risk to Chinese nationals, those who visit the island.

Wu said tobacco companies should stop production in Taiwan, subject to local control, which was needed in the current crisis.

“Taiwan is facing the impact of the coronavirus. When it first started spreading in China, many businesses were fooled by its rumor and became paralyzed, ” Wu wrote in two separate emails.

He called on businesses to come back “and share your losses” with affected countries.

Taiwan, which enjoys close economic and cultural ties with China, has said it is there to help China fight the epidemic and announced plans to resume travel and trade with some nations that have suspended flights to and from China.

Taiwan has included China in its travel advisory for the past two weeks partly because of its claims it could stop sending customs inspectors to China if needed, including Hong Kong, Macau and Taiwan who have accused Beijing of mishandling the outbreak.