Taiwan to donate COVID-19 rapid antibody test kits to Honduras

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TAIPEI (CNA) — The Taiwan government is to donate a batch of 10,000 rapid COVID-19 antibody test kits to Honduras to help the Central American ally’s ongoing fight against the pandemic, a Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) official said Thursday.

MOFA’s Department of Latin American and Caribbean Affairs Director-General Alexander Yui (俞大㵢) told reporters that the donation is expected to be dispatched later Thursday or early Friday.

The ministry is also scheduled to donate another 10,000 COVID-19 test kits to two of the nation’s other diplomatic allies in Central America, Guatemala and Belize, according to Yui.

The test kits were developed by a local biomedical company for the detection of antibodies of SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19. The kits have a 90 percent accuracy rate and can deliver results in just 10 minutes, according to the MOFA official.

The company has been in talks with MOFA over cooperation and has decided to give the 20,000 test kits to the ministry at no charge to help the nation’s allies, Yui said.

He made the remarks when asked to comment on news that Honduran President Juan Orlando Hernandez was diagnosed with COVID-19 earlier this week.

The Honduran leader made his diagnosis public at a press event late Tuesday. Hernandez said he has mild symptoms and is being treated with medication. His wife and two aides, who also have the virus, are also undergoing treatment.

Honduras, one of Taiwan’s 15 diplomatic allies worldwide, has reported around 10,000 COVID-19 cases and 330 deaths as of Thursday.

The MOFA official said that the ministry has been helping the country and other allies in Latin America and the Caribbean to combat the virus with the donation of medical supplies, including surgical face masks, protective gear, coronavirus test kits, infrared thermal imagers and forehead thermometers, as well as quinine tablets.

Taiwanese health workers have also held video-conferences with their counterparts in these allies to share their experience and expertise in containing the coronavirus pandemic, Yui said, adding that such efforts will continue.