Taiwan raises coronavirus task force to highest level

Country needs to prepare for outbreak: Cabinet

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Cabinet Spokesperson Kolas Yotaka.

Cabinet Spokesperson Kolas Yotaka. (CNA photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — Taiwan will raise the task force dealing with the coronavirus (COVID-19) cases to its highest level starting Thursday (Feb. 27).

Premier Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌) announced in a Cabinet meeting on Thursday morning that the government would raise the Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) to Level 1, but Health Minister Chen Shih-chung (陳時中) would continue to serve as its head, said Cabinet Spokesperson Kolas Yotaka at a press conference. There have been several family clusters of infection on the island without any large-scale community-transmitted cases reported, but the country needs to prepare for an outbreak of the virus, said the spokesperson.

With the task force raised to the highest level of its three-tiered system, deputy ministers of relevant government agencies will join the command center in directly tackling and responding to virus-related issues, added Kolas. The decision will facilitate cross-ministerial communication and improve the efficiency of the government’s tasks while helping it better coordinate resources, she said.

Kolas emphasized that the government’s current efforts to fight the coronavirus has been effective. Taiwan has so far confirmed 32 cases in the country, with half of them having been imported cases and half being locally transmitted ones.

Deputy Director-General of the Centers for Disease Control Chuang Jen-hsiang (莊人祥) warned that the risk of importing cases from other parts of the world other than China, where the virus emerged, had risen as infections continue to escalate in Europe, the Middle East, and South Korea.