Minister of Health and Welfare Chen Shih-chung, center, talks to reporters on the sidelines of a visit to a temporary children’s vaccination center at Liberty Square in Taipei on June 6.
Photo: George Tsorng, Taipei Times
By Lee I-chia / Staff reporter
Minister of Health and Welfare Chen Shih-chung （陳時中） tested positive for COVID-19 yesterday morning and is to isolate at home for seven days.
Chen had symptoms, including a runny nose, sneezing and muscle soreness yesterday morning, so he performed a rapid COVID-19 test at home, which was positive, said Centers for Disease Control （CDC） Deputy Director-General Chuang Jen-hsiang （莊人祥）, who is the Central Epidemic Command Center’s （CECC） spokesman.
The minister had a telemedicine consultation with a doctor and was diagnosed with COVID-19, Chuang said, adding that Chen was in good condition yesterday morning.
Chen’s close contacts include CDC Director-General Chou Jih-haw （周志浩）, head of the CECC’s disease surveillance division; CDC Deputy Director-General Philip Lo （羅一鈞）, deputy head of the CECC’s medical response division; CECC medical response division deputy head Victor Wang （王必勝）; as well as himself, Chuang said.
They all tested negative for COVID-19 in rapid tests yesterday morning and have no symptoms, he added.
Chen’s duties at the center are to be temporarily carried out by the center’s deputy head, Deputy Minister of the Interior Chen Tsung-yen （陳宗彥）.
The health minister is to monitor the overall COVID-19 prevention and control situation through telephone calls and videoconferencing, Chuang said.
Presidential Office spokesman Xavier Chang （張惇涵） said the minister has not met with President Tsai Ing-wen （蔡英文） in person recently, although they frequently discuss COVID-19 issues over the telephone.
Tsai said that as CECC head, Chen Shih-chung has been working hard with hardly any days off for more than two years, so she hoped the minister could rest well and recover soon, Chang added.
Executive Yuan spokesman Lo Ping-cheng （羅秉成） said that the health minister had attended a meeting at the Executive Yuan on Saturday morning, but there was checkerboard seating, as well as table dividers, and the participants wore masks during the meeting, adding that neither Premier Su Tseng-chang （蘇貞昌） nor the other officials who attended had COVID-19 symptoms.
Additional reporting by CNA