Premier Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌) yesterday said he would not replace Minister of Health and Welfare Chen Shih-chung (陳時中) as head of the Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC).
Former Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) legislator Apollo Chen (陳學聖) last week called for Chen Shih-chung to be replaced, citing the contracting economy and panic buying of daily necessities amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Taiwan People’s Party this week urged Su to take over the reins at the CECC himself, saying that there were contradictions between how Su and Chen Shih-chung viewed plans to evacuate Taiwanese stranded in Wuhan, China, where the disease emerged.
Photo: Wang Yi-sung, Taipei Times
Chen Shih-chung “is very professional and responsible, and he has done a great job,” Su told reporters at the Legislative Yuan in Taipei. “He will not be replaced.”
He has performed admirably “on the front line” while commanding work to contain the novel coronavirus, while behind the scenes, a large team has worked seamlessly to perform tasks from delivery and distribution of masks to drafting economic stimulus policies, Su said.
Chen Shih-chung’s approval rating reflects public approval of the overall team, Su said.
Asked about complaints by Taiwanese in China’s Hubei Province that two flights to evacuate people via Shanghai Pudong International Airport are “inconvenient” and “expensive,” with the airport more than 1,000km from Hubei, Su said that the airfare was agreed on by the organizing agencies and China Airlines to ease the financial burden people seeking to return home.
As for the Hubei Provincial Taiwan Affairs Office’s call for Taiwanese to be allowed to board homebound flights in Wuhan, rather than Shanghai, Su said that it could be an option after the Chinese government lifts the lockdown on the city.
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