Tsai apologizes for navy cluster coronavirus infection
President Tsai Ing-wen has apologized for the handling of the coronavirus cluster infection on board a navy supply ship, saying “as commander-in-chief, she holds ultimate responsibility for the military.”
Twenty-eight members of the “Panshsih” crew have so far being confirmed as being infected with the virus.
According to Tsai, while the military has being making great efforts to strengthen Taiwan's epidemic prevention efforts, it made many errors in its handling of the “Panshih” case and she apologizes that “those errors had caused a public health risk.”
Tsai says she has now asked the military to rectify the situation as quickly as possible and its quickly identifying of four areas of negligence in its handling of the case represents “only the beginning of a fuller investigation into the matter.”
Tsai is also dismissing claims the supply ship made more than one port call during its “Fleet of Friendship” mission to Palau, saying while she “couldn’t reveal the flotilla's exact mission, there were other destinations besides Palau.
In the meantime, two admirals have been removed from their posts pending further investigation into responsibility for a cluster coronavirus infection on the “Panshih”.
Commander of Republic of China Naval Fleet Command Vice Admiral Gao Jia-bin and Rear Admiral Chen Dao-hui, the head of the Navy's Friendship Fleet, are being punished for negligence that resulted in the infections.
According to Defence Minister Yen De-fa, both Gao and Chen failed to follow pandemic prevention measures.
Yen says crew members did not wear face masks at all times during the visit to Palau and Chen was aware that several members of the ship's crew had developed fevers during the trip to Palau, but failed to report the situation to his superiors.
According to medical records, 148 members of the ship's crew sought medical treatment 226 times during its month-long trip and 10 cases involved upper respiratory tract symptoms.
The defence minister has apologized for the incident and says he's informed President Tsai Ing-wen that he'll resign from his post and take full responsibility if necessary.