Taiwan did not record any new COVID-19 cases for a sixth consecutive day Friday, but the Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) still advised that people wear masks when visiting crowded places over the Labor Day long weekend.
They also announce they relaxed restrictions on visits to long-term care facilities ahead of Mother’s Day next week.
Meanwhile, Taiwan has placed a temporary export ban on 75 percent alcohol hand sanitizers and disinfectants, effective Friday, a day after the temporary ban on face mask exports was extended, according to the Bureau of Foreign Trade.
A total of 922 companies across Taiwan had employees on furlough as of the end of April, an indication that the economic impact of the COVID-19 outbreak continues to hurt local businesses, especially smaller ones.
According to Ministry of Labor (MOL) statistics released Friday, 18,840 workers with 922 companies were on unpaid leave at the end of the month, up 575 workers and 118 companies from the previous week’s figures.
Meanwhile, S&P Global Ratings has affirmed Taiwan’s sovereign credit rating with a stable outlook, saying that the nation might resume economic growth next year from an expected contraction this year caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
The international agency maintains Taiwan’s long-term and short-term issuer credit ratings at “AA-” and “A-1+” respectively on belief that the nation’s robust asset positions, strong monetary flexibility and competitive private sector would uphold its credit profile amid the pandemic.
Is the Kaohsiung City Govt hindering Han recall group?
With just over a month left before the recall vote of Kaohsiung Mayor Han Kuo-yu, local media is reporting that the pro-Han recall organizers Wecare are accusing the Kaohsiung City Construction Bureau of selectively enforcing city codes.
They claim that all of their canvas advertisements have been taken down, while pro-Han advertisements remain plentiful.
They also accused Han’s wife, Li Chia-fen (李佳芬), of meddling in the recall vote process.
Han vigorously denied the accusation.
If these allegations are indeed correct, it would bolster the case for voting to recall.
DPP proposal to limit dual citizenship more forward
A proposed legal amendment to close a three-month gap between Chinese citizens becoming naturalized Republic of China (ROC) citizens and renouncing their Chinese citizenship yesterday proceeded to committee review.
The act’s accompanying guidelines on long-term and permanent residence stipulate that people who fail to provide documents proving that they have renounced their Chinese citizenship within three months of receiving a permanent resident permit would have their permit revoked.
The grace period creates a loophole in which some Chinese have dual nationality and dual household registration, resulting in a breach in the nation’s border controls, the lawmakers said.
The proposed amendment, if passed, would prohibit the National Immigration Agency from approving permanent residence certificates for Chinese citizens if they have not provided proof that they had renounced their original nationality.
AIT ups support for WHA bid
The American Institute in Taiwan (AIT) yesterday launched a “countdown” series of Facebook posts to promote Taiwan’s bid to participate in the World Health Assembly (WHA), which is expected to meet virtually in the middle of this month.
The WHA, the WHO’s decision making body, takes place in Geneva, Switzerland, every year, but Taiwan, which took part in the assembly as an observer from 2009 to 2016, has not been invited since President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) of the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) took office.
“The US firmly believes Taiwan has a role to play in global health and should be invited to observe the World Health Assembly later this month,” AIT wrote on Facebook yesterday.
“The inclusion of Taiwan in the #WHA would contribute to the goal of #HealthForAll and help Taiwan share the successful #TaiwanModel of COVID-19 prevention with the world.”
“Each day from now until the #WHA, we will be sharing posts supporting Taiwan’s participation in the WHA and greater participation on the global stage,” it wrote.
These gestures by AIT are unlikely to have any effect on the WHA bid, nor is it likely the WHA will even be aware of them.
It does, however, make sense from a PR standpoint for AIT to bolster their image with Taiwanese.
Filipina deportation saga grows in scope
Filipino migrant workers’ group Migrante International has filed an administrative complaint before the Philippines’ Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) against a labor attaché who sought the deportation of a Filipina caregiver in Taiwan for criticism against the Duterte administration.
Labor attaché Fidel Macauyag “abused his authority and has failed in his mandate to protect our migrant workers overseas,” the OFW welfare group’s chairperson Joanna Concepcion said in a statement.
He also “violated the diplomatic duty of respect to the Taiwan government,” she added.
Meanwhile, the Philippines’ official representative in Taiwan has slammed Presidential spokesperson Harry Roque’s statements on the “deportation” of a female overseas Filipino worker (OFW), asking what was his purpose in bringing up China-Taiwan issues.
Manila Economic and Cultural Office (MECO) chairperson Angelito Banayo urged Roque to be more careful in making statements, after the latter claimed that the fate of OFW Elanel Ordidor lies on Taiwan and China.
Banayo has been put in some difficult situations in the last week or so, but to his credit he has handled them well.
He appears to be a good diplomat.
In related news, the Facebook group I founded, Taiwan Daily News in English, has just reached 30,000 people.
For a long time a noticeable percentage of the members were from the Philippines, and though they tended to be quiet, I have made some effort to include any news items I find they might find interesting or useful.
In recent months, there has been an interestingly large increase in the numbers joining, but again largely quiet in the discussions.
That has definitely not been the case since this story broke, there have been some–how shall we put this–”spirited” discussions between supporters and opponents of Philippine President Duterte.