Taiwan donates food, medical supplies to Vatican

Taiwan has made several donations to both Vatican offices and religious orders in a show of solidarity during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

Italy is experiencing high death counts related to COVID-19.

Basic sanitary supplies and medication are hard to come by – so the Taiwanese Embassy to the Holy See stepped up with some.

Just as the coronavirus “respects no border, solidarity too overcomes borders,” a spokesperson from the Embassy says.

Embassy officials have partnered with the Buddhist Compassion Relief Tzu Chi Foundation, headquartered in Taiwan

So far about 4,000 masks have been sent from Taiwan to the Vatican Pharmacy.

The message with them says the masks are to ensure “the safety and protection of those Catholic nuns, priests and workers who are committed to providing comfort, guidance and spiritual relief in times of fear and anxiety.”

“Helping is a moral duty for us,” the Taiwanese Ambassador to the Holy See Matthew Lee says.

Pointing to Pope Francis’s prayer event and Urbi et Orbi blessing on March 27, Lee called the pope’s address that night a “homily of hope”.

“We are in the same boat…all of us called to row together, each of us in need of comforting the other,” he quoted from the papal address.

The embassy has also provided 600 cans of tuna to Cardinal Konrad Krajewski, who as papal almoner is in charge of the pope’s charities.

When he was handing the tuna over, Lee spoke of his admiration for those within the Holy See who continue to assist the poor and needy, despite risks associated with the coronavirus.

“Although tuna is not an expensive food, it represents the love of Taiwan for those people who have nothing at all,” he said.

Taiwan will continue to support the Holy See and its charitable initiatives throughout the outbreak, he added.

Others who are benefiting from Taiwan’s generosity are the Ministers of the Sick of Saint Camillus order of religious women in Rome, who were given a large quantity of medication, facial masks and food.

Currently 17 of the convent’s 24 sisters are sick, likely with the coronavirus, although it has not yet been confirmed.

Taiwan itself, despite being across the Taiwan Straits from Mainland China where the COVID-19 outbreak began, has not had the high number of cases that is now seen in other parts of the world.

As of Wednesday, Taiwan had 329 coronavirus cases, with just five deaths and 39 recoveries.

When COVID-19 first broke out in China’s Hubei province, Taiwan began to clamp down on cross border transit and social movement.

Taiwanese officials say they have been insulated from a major outbreak because they never trusted the data provided by mainland China, believing the numbers to be higher than what was being published.


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