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Sen. Tammy Duckworth outside the U.S. Capitol last Tuesday. Photo: Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images

The U.S. will donate 750,000 COVID-19 vaccine doses to Taiwan, Sen. Tammy Duckworth (D-Ill.) announced after arriving in the capital, Taipei, on a bipartisan congressional visit Sunday.

Why it matters: The island state is facing spiking coronavirus cases, and officials say their efforts to obtain vaccines are being impeded by China's government, which considers Taiwan to be part of its territory.

  • The visit by Duckworth and Sens. Dan Sullivan (R-Ak) and Chris Coons (D-Del.) is likely to raise the ire of China's government, which reacted with fury to then-Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar's trip to Taiwan last August.

Driving the news: The donation is part of President Biden's initiative to share COVID-19 vaccines globally.

What they're saying: "We are here as friends, because we know that Taiwan is experiencing a challenging time right now, which was why it was especially important for the three of us to be here in a bipartisan way," Duckworth said, per AP.

  • "It was critical to the United States that Taiwan be included in the first group to receive vaccines, because we recognize your urgent need, and we value this partnership."
  • Taiwan's Foreign Minister Joseph Wu, who met the senators at Tapei's airport, said officials would have to "overcome obstacles to ensure that these life-saving medicine are delivered free from troubles of Beijing," AP reports.

Go deeper

Updated 4 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Omicron dashboard

Illustration: Brendan Lynch/Axios

  1. Health: Concerns grow over CDC's isolation guidelines — Experts warn of more COVID-19 variants after Omicron — WHO recommends 2 new treatments — What "mild" really means when it comes to Omicron.
  2. Vaccines: America's vaccination drive runs out of gas— Puerto Rico expands booster shot requirements— Supreme Court blocks Biden's vaccine mandate for large employers.
  3. Politics: Vivek Murthy calls SCOTUS vaccine mandate block "a setback for public health" — Focus group says Biden weak on COVID response, strong on democracy.
  4. Economy: America's labor shortage is bigger than the pandemic— — CDC COVID guidance for cruise ships to be optional starting Saturday — The cost of testing.
  5. States: America struggles to keep schools open — Youngkin ends mandates for masks in schools and COVID vaccinations for state workers.
  6. World: Beijing reports first local Omicron case weeks before Winter Olympics — Teachers in France stage mass walkout over COVID protocols.
  7. Variant tracker

Federal judge temporarily blocks Iowa's ban on mask mandates in schools

Governor Kim Reynolds at a Trump Rally last year. Photographer: Rachel Mummey/Bloomberg via Getty Images

A federal judge issued a temporary restraining order on Monday blocking Iowa from enforcing a recent law that bars schools from requiring masks.

Why it matters: The move, effective immediately, allows school districts to enforce mask mandates as kids are returning to the classroom. The lawsuit represents the interest of students who are ineligible for COVID-19 vaccines or are at risk of severe complications from the virus.

DeSantis threatens to issue "millions" in fines over local vaccine mandates

Ron DeSantis. Photo: Paul Hennessy/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis said Monday that the state will fine cities and counties $5,000 for each employee required to get vaccinated, the Tampa Bay Times reports.

Why it matters: It is the Republican governor's latest threat against local officials who have implemented mask or vaccine mandates in an effort to slow the spread of the virus.