TAIPEI (The China Post/ANN) — The latest two latest locally transmitted COVID-19 cases involving a doctor and a nurse have sparked public’s concerns in Taiwan, with some criticizing the Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC, 中央流行疫情指揮中心) for the delayed info on contact tracing as well as not naming the hospital where the infection took place.
In response to local media inquiries, Minister of Health and Welfare Chen Shih-chung (陳時中) defended CECC’s decision on Thursday while promising a clearer SOP on contact tracing announcements to be set in the future.
Taiwan reported two domestic COVID-19 cases that took place in a northern hospital on Tuesday, where a doctor and his girlfriend, a nurse working in the same hospital, were tested positive for the virus.
This is the first time that medical staff is infected in Taiwan since the outbreak.
However, many questioned CECC for not publishing info related to contact tracing until the next day, to which Chen responded in a press conference today that the CECC had been investigating the two cases and clarifying their whereabouts since they received the news.
He stressed that before satisfying the public’s “right to know,” there are other priorities that need to be addressed.
The command center must first list the contacts and wait for the quarantine letters to be signed before releasing the information.
As for the reason why CECC refused to identify the hospital’s name, Chen explained that it is to avoid people working there being labelled or discriminated against by the public.
He said that family members of the healthcare workers working there may be told not to go to work or attend classes.
Chen said that the CECC will continue to uphold the principle of not identifying the location where an infection occurs “unless it is absolutely necessary.”
When asked if the command center could have more detailed standards regarding the release of footprints, Chen promised that he will ask the Legal Affairs Division to improve the SOPs on the matter as reassuring the public is the CECC’s top responsibility.