Taiwan Minister of National Defense, Yen Teh-fa, issued a public apology concerning an outbreak of deadly coronavirus in a navy ship said to have toured the Pacific Ocean during in the course of last month.
The minister said he is willing to resign.
“I have asked President Tsai for punishment, and the president has asked the Defense Ministry to face the incident honestly and reflect thoroughly,” said Yen.
On the ship in question, a total of 27 sailors have tested positive for coronavirus disease. The ship was on a friendship visit to the Pacific island state of Palau. State of Palau is among the only 15 countries Taiwan has got formal ties with.
The ship had 700 sailors on board hence the government is now engaging in contact tracing the remaining others since they all embarked from the ship before the test was conducted.
Taiwan Center for Disease says it has send over 200,000 text messages to people deemed to have come into contact with those who have tested positive from the ship.
The minister issued the apology in a live press statement expressing his remorsefulness for failing the state especially at a time when Taiwan was recording zero numbers in new coronavirus infections.
Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen, quickly responded on the matter in a way ruling out sacking Minister Yun, however, the President said investigation on the incident will be conducted and anyone found responsible will be punished.
“Those who should be punished will be punished,” posted the President on Facebook.
Minister Yen, says all due diligence was conducted before the ship set off with all disease prevention measures observed. He, however, acknowledges some loop holes saying some of these measures might have not been implemented to the latter.
Before this new infection cases Taiwan had recorded 3 straight days without any new coronavirus infection.
In comparison to its neighbors, Taiwan has relatively recorded way low coronavirus numbers. To date the country has reported 425 cases with only six deaths and more than half having have recovered fully.