Premier Su Tseng-chang on Thursday said he has accepted Health and Welfare Minister Chen Shih-chung's recommendation to upgrade the Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) to a level-1 facility in light of the mounting, global urgency to contain the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19). Speaking at a weekly meeting of the Cabinet, the premier explicitly instructed all agencies concerned to maintain the highest vigilance as the government continues to combat the outbreak, provide economic relief and stimulate local industries.
Premier Su also thanked the Legislature for greenlighting a special act Tuesday designed to mitigate the impacts of COVID-19 and assist businesses hit by the outbreak. Empowered by this law, the Cabinet also approved a special budget proposal on Thursday to fund the central government's disease control efforts together with economic stimulus and relief measures. He asked the Legislature for swift approval of the budget to facilitate implementation of the special act.
The government will seek to deliver the maximum amount of aid as quickly as possible to those affected, by distributing benefits equally, providing comprehensive assistance, focusing on immediate results, and ramping up economic activity, emphasized the premier. The measures also provide opportunities for business to upgrade.
All ministries and agencies will have two weeks to draft secondary legislation following Tuesday's passage of the special act, Premier Su said. The nation's borders must also be tightly controlled. The premier instructed ministry heads to establish and personally oversee dedicated task forces to coordinate relief, stimulus and disease prevention efforts.
Having now quickly spread to 46 countries and territories with over 70,000 confirmed cases throughout the world, COVID-19 represents a serious challenge, the premier said. Taiwan is successfully holding the line against a widespread outbreak but cannot afford to let down its guard. Cases already confirmed indicate that sporadic community transmission has occurred, warranting an immediate response.