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Morning Message from South China
Coronavirus: Tsai’s approval rating slips as Taiwan reports around 500 cases for day four
Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen has seen her approval rating drop below 50% for the first time in a year as the island grapples with a worsening Covid-19 epidemic. Health officials reported around 500 new cases Tuesday for a fourth day and six deaths for a third day in a row, prompting the island to extend restrictions on level three – the second largest – for two more weeks. Meanwhile, Tsai’s approval rating slipped to 45.7% in May, from 54.4% in April, according to the latest poll conducted by the Taiwan Public Opinion Foundation. Get the answers with SCMP Knowledge, our new curated content platform with explanations, FAQs, analysis and infographics brought to you by our award-winning team. Tsai’s rating was 71.2% a year ago when she was inaugurated for a second term as president of the autonomous island. “The recent spike in locally transmitted infections has been one of the main reasons for its declining approval rate,” foundation president Michael You Ying-lung told reporters on Tuesday. He said other factors were the recent island-wide blackouts and that reports earlier this month alleged that a member of Tsai’s pro-independence Democratic Progressive Party had links to an organized criminal group in Taipei. Chao Ying-kuang resigned due to the reports and Tsai apologized, saying the party needs to improve its selection process. Some 1,082 people across Taiwan were interviewed for the survey. It also found that 65.3% of those polled feared the pandemic would cost them their jobs, compared to 33.7% who were not, and 84.5% believed the virus was potentially fatal for them and their families. families. The poll also delved into opinions on the origins of the pandemic, with 52.8% of them saying it was a man-made disaster, while 22.9% believed it wasn’t was not the case. Some 19 percent believed it was both a natural and man-made disaster. Taiwan’s coronavirus outbreak leaves service industry in shock as new brakes bite After being hailed as successful in containing the virus, Taiwan is experiencing its worst outbreak since the start of the pandemic. What started as a handful of cases on April 20 has spread rapidly, with more than 3,500 locally transmitted infections recorded in the past 10 days. Cases have now been reported in all parts of Taiwan except the offshore islands of Penghu, Quemoy – also known as Kinmen – and Matsu. Health officials on Tuesday reported 544 new infections – 281 new local cases, two new imported cases and 261 cases delayed by a backlog of reporting last week – bringing the total to 5,456, with 35 deaths, including the last six deaths. The Central Outbreak Command Center has since Saturday reported additional cases it said were not included in last week’s tally because its computer system was overwhelmed. Rapid testing centers have been set up in many cities, including Taipei and New Taipei, and Health Minister Chen Shih-chung said on Tuesday the positivity ratio remained high and undiagnosed cases were of concern. , “Experts strongly suggested that we extend the level three alert until June 14”. Chen urged people to abide by the restrictions and stay home as much as possible to reduce the risk of getting infected, but said there are no plans to impose a full lockdown at this time. “Due to the extension of the level three alert, the Executive Yuan [Taiwan’s cabinet] will announce certain measures to help local businesses, ”he said, without giving further details. Coronavirus: Taiwan appeals to US for vaccines amid fears for the elderly Chen said health workers will begin administering some 410,000 doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine on Thursday, recently delivered through the Organization-backed Covax Facility world health. Health care and frontline workers would be given priority. Until the last outbreak, many people in Taiwan were reluctant to take the hit. Today, as more people head to vaccination centers, authorities are striving to get enough doses for its population of 23.5 million. The island had previously received only 310,000 doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine, most of which were given to people on the priority list. Taipei has signed agreements for 5.05 million doses of Moderna vaccine, 10 million AstraZeneca and 4.76 million doses of unspecified vaccines through Covax. “Two million more doses will be shipped to Taiwan in June and another 10 million are expected at the end of August,” Chen said. He did not say which vaccines they would be, but said the 10 million doses would include a locally developed vaccine, which Tsai said should be available by July. Chen and Premier Su Tseng-chang received AstraZeneca injections shortly after the delivery of the first shipment, but Tsai has yet to be vaccinated, saying she will wait for the locally made one. Beijing has renewed an offer from the Shanghai Fosun Pharmaceutical Group to supply Taiwan with a vaccine developed by the German company BioNTech. But Chen said on Tuesday that Taiwanese health officials have yet to hear from Beijing about it. Fosun signed an agreement with BioNTech last year to supply Covid-19 mRNA vaccines to mainland China and in March offered to supply vaccines to Taiwan. Vaccine reluctance puts zero-Covid economies in Asia like Hong Kong, Australia at herd of herd immunity For the latest news from the South China Morning Post, download our mobile app. Copyright 2021.