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Taiwan Health Minister, CECC commander tests positive for COVID

CECC to be headed by Deputy Commander Chen Tsung-yen until Chen Shih-chung recovers

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File photo of Central Epidemic Command Center head Chen Shih-chung and deputy head Chen Tsung-yen.

File photo of Central Epidemic Command Center head Chen Shih-chung and deputy head Chen Tsung-yen. (CNA photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — Minister of Health and Welfare and Central Epidemic Command Center Commander (CECC) Chen Shih-chung (陳時中) received a positive COVID-19 rapid test result, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) announced on Sunday (June 12).

CDC wrote in a press release that Chen took a rapid test after noticing symptoms on Sunday morning. His test result was confirmed by a physician via a virtual diagnosis session, and he will remain at home for recovery.

CDC added that Chen is currently in good health, while other CECC members who have been in contact with him including CDC head Chou Ji-haw (周志浩), CECC Spokesperson Chuang Jen-hsiang (莊人祥), medical response division deputy heads Philip Lo (羅一鈞) and Victor Wang (王必勝) all tested negative and are also in good health. They will continue self-monitoring for any symptoms.

During Chen’s absence, CECC Deputy Commander Chen Tsung-yen (陳宗彥) will take over his duties. Chen Shih-chung will continue to keep track of the pandemic's development through phone and video calls.

CNA cited Presidential Office Spokesperson Xavier Chang (張惇涵) as saying that President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) has not met with Chen Shih-chung lately, though they have frequently discussed COVID-related issues over the phone. He said Tsai hopes Chen can take a good rest after over two years of almost non-stop work to combat COVID, and wishes him a speedy recovery.

Executive Yuan Spokesperson Lo Ping-cheng (羅秉成) told CNA that Chen had attended a meeting and presented on Saturday (June 11), but all meeting participants had worn masks, sat in every other seat, and were protected by dividers. Key Executive Yuan officials, including Premier Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌), are all currently in good health.