Tai­wan, US kick off MERS work­shop for re­gional part­ners

The China Post - - LOCAL -

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.

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