Taiwan, US kick off MERS workshop for regional partners
Taiwan and the United States jointly kicked off a three- day workshop in Taiwan Wednesday focusing on testing and diagnosis of Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) in an effort to strengthen the region’s abilities to respond to the disease.
The workshop, which is taking place in the southern city of Tainan, is being attended by experts from the Asia-Pacific region, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said.
Experts and officials from Taiwan, the United States, Japan, Cambodia, India, Indonesia, Ma- laysia, Thailand, Vietnam, Papua New Guinea and the Philippines are participating in the workshop, during which U.S. experts in disease control are scheduled to give presentations on related issues, the ministry said.
Wednesday’s opening ceremony was attended by Christine Hsueh, director-general of the ministry’s Department of North American Affairs, and Steve Kuo, director general of the Ministry of Health and Welfare’s Centers for Disease Control.
Noting that Taiwan is experienced in combating epidemics and has cooperated with the U.S. on international responses to epidemics such as Ebola, the officials said that Taiwan will continue to play a role as a provider of humanitarian assistance.
The workshop comes after the South Korean government declared in late July an end to an outbreak of MERS that killed 36 people in that country. South Korea reported its first confirmed case of MERS in late May, a 68-year-old man who had visited Bahrain.
Although no MERS cases have been reported in Taiwan, the country has taken a series of precautionary measures aimed at preventing and combating the disease.
The workshop is the first since Taiwan and the U.S. signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) June 1 to extend the two countries’ cooperation in international public health and other issues of of mutual concern.
The MOU came with the launch of the Global Cooperation and Training Framework, which offers a platform for Taiwan and the U.S. to work closely in the areas of global health, environmental protection, science and technology, humanitarian assistance and disaster relief, the ministry said.