Local government leaders are angling to invite Minister of Health and Welfare Chen Shih-chung (陳時中) to visit their areas, as the Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) confirmed that its head would visit Tainan this weekend as part of the center’s efforts to promote a “new disease prevention lifestyle”and local tourism.
The visit last weekend by Chen and top health officials to Pingtung County’s Kenting (墾丁) saw them greeted enthusiastically, with people thanking them for protecting the nation during the COVID-19 outbreak, and trying to get Chen’s photograph or autograph.
The Hawaiian-style shirts worn by the group and the traditional wooden sandals that local residents gave Chen when his group visited Kenting’s night market on Saturday evening have become popular, with fans of Chen calling the Kenting shops wanting to buy their own.
Photo courtesy of CECC via CNA
Some media outlets have dubbed Chen “the king of advertorial” after many products he has used during the center’s daily news conference have become fads.
An opinion poll published by the Taiwanese Public Opinion Foundation yesterday showed that Chen has the highest favorability rating among government officials, at 91.9 percent, while President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) scored 67.6 percent.
Tainan Mayor Huang Wei-che (黃偉哲) yesterday said Chen would visit the city on Saturday and Sunday and authorities would organized local delicacies for him to taste.
So far the city’s plans call to apportion Tainan’s delicacies into the three meals Chen is expected to eat during his visit — dinner on Saturday, and breakfast and lunch on Sunday — and for the center’s daily afternoon news conference to be held before he leaves on Sunday, Huang said.
The CECC’s spokesman, Centers for Disease Control (CDC) Deputy Director-General Chuang Jen-hsiang (莊人祥), confirmed that Chen would visit Tainan, but said whether other health officials or Taipei-based reporters should accompany him has not been decided.
New Taipei City Mayor Hou You-yi (侯友宜) on Sunday said that he would “passionately welcome” Chen if he visited, and on Monday he added that he would cooperate with anyone who is able to promote tourism and boost consumption in the city.
Taichung Mayor Lu Shiow-yen (盧秀燕) on Monday said that during a recent telephone call with Chen, the minister had offered to visit Taichung if the city needed his help in any way.
Yesterday, Yilan County Commissioner Lin Zi-miao (林姿妙) said she would ask Chen and his team to visit the county to help boost its economy, while Taoyuan Mayor Cheng Wen-tsan (鄭文燦) said that he had invited Chen to visit Yungan Port (永安漁港) and local Hakka villages.
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