A Chinese mainland spokesperson on Thursday urged Taiwan authorities to draw lessons from their misdiagnosis of COVID-19 cases and uphold a rigorous scientific attitude and professionalism in epidemic prevention and control.
People's lives and health are not to be played with, and the diagnosis of COVID-19 cases should not become a tool for political manipulation, said Zhu Fenglian, a spokesperson for the Taiwan Affairs Office of the State Council, in response to a media question about a mistake by Taiwan health authorities on the COVID-19 test of a Taiwan businessman who returned to the island from the mainland.
Taiwan's epidemic monitoring agency admitted Wednesday that the businessman was diagnosed with COVID-19 by mistake. The testing lab had mixed up his sample with another Taiwan resident who returned from France the same day.
"This is not the first time that Taiwan authorities have had problems in the diagnosis of COVID-19 cases," Zhu said, adding Taiwan authorities owe the Taiwan businessman an apology.
Taiwan's epidemic monitoring authority declared a Taiwan resident, who returned from Wuhan on Feb. 3, a confirmed case earlier this year. The incident triggered speculations and the spread of rumors in Taiwan as well as attacks on the mainland's epidemic response efforts.
It also became an excuse for Taiwan's Democratic Progressive Party authority to obstruct the return of Taiwan compatriots from virus-hit Hubei Province at that time, Zhu added, noting that the Taiwan resident, however, was neither informed of the diagnosis immediately nor arranged to receive any medical treatment.
The latest mistake on the COVID-19 test not only beset and harmed the Taiwan businessman, who returned to the island from Kunshan City, Jiangsu Province, but also cost Kunshan a lot of manpower and material resources to carry out 2,000 nucleic acid tests and environmental disinfection overnight, according to the spokesperson.
Nearly half a month after Kunshan announced that its nucleic acid test results of relevant people were all negative, Taiwan's epidemic monitoring agency finally admitted that the businessman had been mistakenly diagnosed, she said.