‘Not a god reborn’: Taiwan defends health minister criticized over minor uptick in Covid-19 cases, urges public to follow rules

Taiwan Premier Su Tseng-chang has defended the island’s health minister, criticized over the recent slight spike in Covid-19 cases, stating that even “a god reborn” would not have been able to assure perfect compliance.

The island nation, considered by China as an integral part of the country, has kept the pandemic well under control, registering some 1,100 cases, mostly imported, in over a year.

Recently, it experienced a minor uptick in cases of the disease, with 28 of them being linked to a hotel at the island’s main international airport and the crew of Taiwan’s largest carrier, China Airlines.

While Taiwan’s tally remains extremely low compared to most countries worldwide, the ongoing ‘surge’ sparked criticism of Health Minister Chen Shih-chung. The official was blasted for allowing Taiwanese and foreign pilots to mix at the hotel, as well as for allegedly insufficient enforcement of mask wearing.

The criticism was brushed off by the premier on Tuesday. He said it was up to the public to follow the rules and impossible for the minister to check compliance island-wide.

A single Chen Shih-chung, even if he were a god reborn, would not be able to do it, and there is no way to see if every place has no breaches [in the rules].

Speaking separately on Tuesday, Chen thanked the premier for his remarks and urged the public to follow the rules that have been the key to Taiwan’s coronavirus success. Everyone must observe hand washing, mask wearing, and social distancing rules, and, ultimately, get vaccinated, he said.

“These things are very important,” the minister stressed.

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