Pandemic shows that our health comes before the economy, says archbishop

Archbishop John Hung Shan-chuan of Taipei. Credit: Bohumil Petrik/CNA

(CNA) The coronavirus pandemic is telling us that “our health counts more than the economy’s health and that true human fraternity is more valuable and noble than diplomatic success,” a Taiwanese archbishop has said.

Archbishop John Hung Shan-chuan of Taipei spoke to CNA about how the East Asian state has been at the forefront of efforts to halt COVID-19. 

Taiwan was one of the first countries to warn the international community about the risks of the pandemic, although its appeal was not heeded initially by the World Health Organization. 

The country, which has a population of 24 million, has had only 429 documented coronavirus cases and six deaths as of April 30, according to Johns Hopkins University Coronavirus Resource Center.

Archbishop Hung, who has overseen the archdiocese based in the Taiwanese capital since 2007, explained that the local Church has not faced a crisis because the government has been effective in countering the virus.

Taiwan also sent medical masks and supplies to the Vatican, to be delivered to the poor. Taiwan’s ambassador to the Holy See personally brought 280,000 medical masks to the Vatican and the Italian bishops’ conference, and donated food and supplies to the Papal Almoner.