Taipei, May 20 (CNA) President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) on Friday reflected upon the achievements of her administration since taking office on May 20, 2016, while opposition parties criticized the government for inadequate action to tackle surging COVID-19 cases and the rising cost of living.
Speaking at an event in Taoyuan, Tsai said Taiwan had encountered numerous challenges over the past six years, alluding to major shake-ups in the global political and economic situation, increasing external threats to the country, COVID-19 and natural disasters, without going into detail.
Despite these events, Taiwan's government has been able to achieve stable economic growth while bringing about social reform to provide citizens with better care, Tsai said, attributing these achievements to the support and hard work of people across Taiwan.
The government remains focused on containing the spread of COVID-19 and reducing the fatalities caused by the disease, Tsai said, while calling for unity and calm to overcome the current wave of COVID-19.
Currently, Taiwan has confirmed 1,156,291 COVID-19 cases since the pandemic began in early 2020, with all but 12,432 domestically transmitted.
The country reported 49 deaths Friday, bringing the number of confirmed COVID-19 fatalities in Taiwan to 1,284, with 431 recorded this year.
Looking forward, Tsai said, the government will continue striving to build a better and more resilient nation.
Meanwhile, Legislator Tseng Ming-chung (曾銘宗), a caucus whip of the main opposition Kuomintang (KMT), said the government failed to take proactive measures against the highly transmissible Omicron variant of COVID-19, leading to a shortage of vaccines, medication and testing kits over the past two months.
The KMT also called on the government to focus on the impact of inflation on the country and come up with policies to address the problem.
The rising cost of living has left the people of Taiwan increasingly "unable to catch their breath," KMT Deputy Secretary General Wang Yu-min (王育敏) said.
Wang cited government figures as saying that Taiwan's consumer price index (CPI) soared 3.38 percent year-on-year in April, the highest growth in nine and a half years.
She urged the government to stop highlighting the country's record exports while playing down its lack of action to address the rising cost of living.
Similarly, the New Power Party (NPP) said in a press statement on Friday that the government had failed to take effective measures to control inflation and continued to overlook the "pain" felt by ordinary people in Taiwan due to the rising cost of living.
On COVID-19, the NPP said insufficient test kits and the increasingly overwhelmed medical system in the country showed a lack of preparation by the government in its fight against the Omicron variant.
The party called on the government to learn from the experience of other countries and allocate more resources to contain the spread of the disease.
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President Tsai Ing-wen speaks when visiting the Bade District Office in Taoyuan Friday. Photo courtesy of Taoyuan City government
President Tsai Ing-wen (center left) and Taoyuan Mayor Cheng Wen-tsan (center right) pack supplies for local residents, who are infected with COVID-19 and in home quarantine Friday. Photo courtesy of Taoyuan City government