Premier Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌) yesterday promoted the Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) from a “level 2” to a “level 1” government entity to streamline communication and better contain the spread of COVID-19, while Minister of Health and Welfare Chen Shih-chung (陳時中) would continue to serve as head of the center.
Chen at the weekly Cabinet meeting suggested that Su promote the CECC to a “level 1” entity, Executive Yuan spokeswoman Kolas Yotaka said, adding that Su accepted the suggestion and reappointed Chen as head of center.
With the COVID-19 outbreak escalating around the world, “the best defense for Taiwan is a good offense, which is the front line of disease prevention to preempt a major outbreak,” Su said.
Despite its proximity to China, the nation has been able to restrict COVID-19 to “minor community outbreaks,” mostly contagion within families, which shows that Chen is the most fitting candidate to serve as CECC head, Kolas said in response to queries as to why the premier had chosen Chen instead of himself for the job.
The promotion to “level 1” would facilitate the distribution of resources and communication between relevant government agencies, whose deputy ministers would be required to be on standby at the CECC at all times to attend regular meetings, Kolas said.
Chen told a later news conference that he had made the suggestion after seeing other nations accumulate more than 1,000 confirmed COVID-19 cases in less than five days.
Chen thanked Su for having faith in him and pledged to take preemptive measures to contain the coronavirus.
Hospitals are to set aside more wards to be used as isolation wards in the case of an emergency, Chen said, adding that this would likely increase the nation’s capacity to screen the disease to 2,450 people per day starting next week.
Earlier, with the Tomb Sweeping Holiday approaching, Su ordered government agencies to inform Taiwanese businesspeople and students returning from affected nations and regions to monitor their health at home for 14 days upon their arrival.
They should be informed upon boarding their flights of the penalties they would face if they leave home during the quarantine period, he said.
Su also approved a plan by Vice Premier Chen Chi-mai (陳其邁) for the nation to set up an extra 30 mask production lines.
The Ministry of Economic Affairs is carrying out a plan to add 60 production lines by March 10, which would bring the nation’s daily production to about 10 million masks, Small and Medium Enterprise Administration Director-General Ho Chin-tsang (何晉滄) said.
The 30 extra lines would further boost the nation’s mask production to between 12 million and 13 million per day, Ho said, without giving a time frame for when the additional lines would be completed.
Additional reporting by Lin Hui-chin
SOLIDARITY: A group of European lawmakers condemned China’s aggressive moves, while the foreign minister of Lithuania said Taiwan ‘cannot become a second Ukraine’ A German parliamentary delegation would visit Taiwan in the first week of October, German lawmaker Holger Becker on Monday told visiting Democratic Progressive Party legislators Fan Yun (范雲) and Lin I-chin (林宜瑾) at the Bundestag in Berlin. Asked by Fan whether he is worried about possible reprisals from Beijing, such as banning him and his family from entering China, Becker said he is more interested in visiting Taiwan, as “now is the time for democracies to stand together.” Fan and Lin also met with German officials to exchange views on digital education and governance. Investing in digital infrastructure and protecting equal rights to
As China waged extensive military exercises off Taiwan, a group of US defense experts in Washington was focused on their own simulation of an eventual — but for now entirely hypothetical — US-China war over the nation. The unofficial what-if game is being conducted on the fifth floor of an office building not far from the White House, and it posits a US military response to a Chinese invasion in 2026. Even though the participants bring a US perspective, they are finding that a US-Taiwan victory, if there is one, could come at a huge cost. “The results are showing that under
WRONG TIMING: The delegation’s trip has not only disappointed Taiwanese, but could send a wrong message to the global community, Tsai Ing-wen said Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Vice Chairman Andrew Hsia (夏立言) yesterday left with a delegation for a trip to China, drawing fire for visiting at a time when Beijing has been conducting intensive military drills to pressure Taiwan. Before boarding, he told reporters that the delegation would be visiting Taiwanese communities and students in China, and possibly meet with Chinese officials. The Mainland Affairs Council on Tuesday night said that it was not the right time for political party members to visit China, as Beijing has been conducting military exercises since Thursday last week. President Tsai Ing- wen (蔡英文), chairperson of the Democratic
‘MILITARY PLAYBOOK’: It would have taken far longer for the PLA to put together the drills had they actually been in response to Nancy Pelosi’s visit, Joseph Wu said China is using military drills to prepare for an invasion of Taiwan, and its anger over US House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s visit is just an excuse, Minister of Foreign Affairs Joseph Wu (吳釗燮) said yesterday. Speaking in English at a news conference in Taipei, Wu accused China of “gross violations of international law.” “China has used the drills in its military playbook to prepare for the invasion of Taiwan,” he said. “It is conducting large-scale military exercises and missile launches, as well as cyberattacks, disinformation and economic coercion, in an attempt to weaken public morale in Taiwan.” He said the Chinese