Taipei, June 11 (CNA) Taiwan's President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) on Friday apologized for the lost of lives in the country due to the COVID-19 outbreak and vowed that her government will make necessary adjustments to win the battle against the new coronavirus.
"The countrymen who contracted the coronavirus and those who lost their lives because of the infection are all part of the Taiwan family," Tsai said in a public address livestreamed on her Facebook page.
"As your president, I extend my deepest sympathies and apologies to them. The government will exert all efforts to contain the COVID-19 outbreak and let the situation return to normalcy," she said.
The apology came after growing criticism that her administration has been too slow in buying vaccines and promoting vaccinations, and had refused to do mass testing early on, while making it difficult for local governments and private groups to purchase vaccines on their own, and being too hurried in ordering local vaccines that haven't completed Phase 2 clinical trials or begun Phase 3 trials.
Tsai's government has denied these allegations.
On Friday, she noted that the country faced serious COVID-19 threats in the past week, especially when mutated coronavirus strains were involved in recent cases.
She added that the government is now focusing on lowering the number of severe cases and the mortality rate, by enhancing medical capabilities, prioritizing senior citizens in vaccination drives, and setting up screening booths in high-risk communities.
The president vowed to work with the private sector to continue making necessary adjustments to ensure that Taiwan will not be defeated by the coronavirus.
She again urged the public to refrain from long distance travel on the eve of the long weekend marking the Dragon Boat Festival from June 12-14, when typically many people travel for fun or for family reunions.