Taiwan health minister promotes domestic travel with beach visit

Chen Shih-chung says travel within the country safe if virus prevention measures respected

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Kenting during the early April Tomb Sweeping Holiday 

Kenting during the early April Tomb Sweeping Holiday  (CNA photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — Health and Welfare Minister Chen Shih-chung (陳時中) headed to the Pingtung County beach resort town of Kenting on Saturday (May 23) to underline the safety of domestic travel during the Wuhan coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

That same day, he announced that Taiwan had gone 41 days without any new domestic transmissions, keeping its total of coronavirus cases at 441, most of which have been imported.

During the four-day Tomb Sweeping holiday in April, images of crowded streets in Kenting fueled fears that a major cluster outbreak could occur — but it never materialized. In contrast, on Saturday, most of the island was lashed by torrential rain, including the south Taiwan beach town, CNA reported.

On his way south by high-speed train, travelers mobbed Chen for his autograph and took pictures with him. He was planning to spend Saturday and Sunday night in Kenting.

As the epidemic has slowed, calls for the relaxation of restrictions are mounting, though the authorities have insisted measures such as requiring face masks on public transport and social distancing should continue for the time being.

The daily Central Epidemic Command Center news conference, during which the minister announces new information regarding the epidemic, will take place in Kenting Sunday.