Taipei launches its Covid-19 vaccine

It will be available in late July. Three local drugs under development. Reduced dependence on purchases of doses abroad. A response to Beijing's "vaccine diplomacy". Slight increase in cases on the island pushes Hong Kong to quarantine measures for travellers from Taiwan.

Taipei (AsiaNews / Agencies) - A Taiwanese-made anti-Covid vaccine will be available by the end of July. President Tsai Ing-wen announced the roll out yesterday at a press conference, underlining that the "phase two" of clinical trials is nearing the end.

Taipei is developing three drugs against coronavirus infection: The Biomedical United vaccine also shows significant efficacy to the British and South African variants.

Taipei has secured 20 million doses from the United States, Great Britain and Covax, the distribution program run by the World Health Organization. Local production will allow the island nation to reduce dependence on foreign purchases, but also to respond to the "Chinese vaccine diplomacy".

The Tsai administration accuses Beijing of using dose sales and donations to push nations like Paraguay and Honduras to break off diplomatic relations with Taiwan and formally recognize China. The communist leadership considers the island a rebel province, to be reunified even by force, if necessary.

The vaccine announcement came after Tsai chaired a meeting on national security, convened after health authorities registered 39 domestic infections since May 10. Taiwan is one of the countries that has best dealt with the pandemic: so far there have been 1,256 cases of infection, of which 1,068 imported from abroad; 12 deaths.

The numbers on the island remain very low, even compared to those counted in countries where the vaccination campaign is at an advanced stage. However, due to the new Taiwanese outbreak, the Hong Kong authorities today decided to impose a mandatory 14-day quarantine on travellers arriving from the island.

The quarantine period must be spent in special hotels. Until now, visitors from Taiwan have been able to go through quarantine in a private home, a measure that is also valid for arrivals from mainland China and Macau.