TAIPEI – In the wake of an unusual spike in domestic Covid-19 infections, Taiwan Premier Su Tseng-chang defended the island’s health minister on Tuesday (May 4), saying that even if he were a god reborn on earth, he couldn’t guard against any eventuality.
Because of early and successful mitigation, including largely closing its borders, Taiwan has kept the pandemic under control. Although Taiwan has recorded occasional domestic infections, the majority of its 1,145 cases to date have been imported from abroad.Taiwan has been grappling with a cluster of 26 infections linked to a hotel near the island’s main international airport, Taoyuan, outside of Taipei, since last month, affecting pilots, hotel staff, and their families.
Health Minister Chen Shih-chung has been chastised, including by the Kuomintang, for a series of decisions that may have exacerbated the outbreak, such as not wearing face masks and allowing Taiwanese and foreign pilots to stay in the same hotel.Mr Su told reporters that despite the government’s strict measures, such as recording the names of people entering public venues to aid touch tracing, not everyone followed the guidelines, and that it was difficult to be everywhere at once to ensure that regulations were followed.
“A single Chen Shih-chung, even if he were a god reborn, would not be able to do it, and there is no way to see if every place has no breaches” in the rules, Mr Su added.
Mr Su said the government is looking into how procedures can be tightened, citing Monday’s decision to bar people from entering who had been in disaster-stricken India.
In comparison to many other nations, Taiwan’s overall case numbers remain exceptionally low, with just 75 people receiving hospital treatment. It has been confirmed that 12 people have died as a result of the incident.
Taiwanese stocks have plummeted since the start of the week, owing in part to worries about domestic cases, and were down more than 3% on Tuesday morning. The outbreak’s epicenter hotel was evacuated last week and is undergoing a thorough cleaning, while those who were staying there were transferred to centralised quarantine centers for testing.