Three more cases of COVID-19 from a cluster infection aboard on the naval Panshi Fast Combat Support Ship were confirmed on April 21, bringing the total number to 27. The Ministry of National Defense had rushed to recall naval personnel for quarantine. However, the ministry has asked the sailors to gather at Taichung First Senior High School, which is in a very population-dense area, and without first inquiring for the school's permission. This decision has thus drawn criticism from legislators, who are calling to nail the person who is responsible.
Workers disinfect Taichung First Senior High School and its surroundings after the Ministry of National Defense ordered sailors from the Panshi Fast Combat Support Ship to meet there for transport to test and quarantine. The ministry didn't bother to inform the school beforehand, which has sparked outrage among parents. Lawmakers are also blasting the ministry.
The Ministry of National Defense) initially said their vehicles parked outside the school gates and no one entered the campus. We later found a photo that showed the vehicles. This one shows the vehicles as well. These are the vehicles; this is the campus of Taichung First Senior High School.
Most of the (meeting points) were at the gates of elementary and junior high schools. We asked them if they bothered to notify the schools beforehand. Their answer was, they did not notify any municipal governments or any of the schools, to prevent panic. After the news broke, it sparked even greater panic.
School officials refused to allow the sailors to enter the campus. Meanwhile, lawmaker Chang Liao Wan-chien says the ministry's decisions ran counter to Central Epidemic Command Center directives and put students in danger. Ministry officials were conspicuously absent from the press conference. In a written statement, the ministry says it chose the school as a meeting point because of adequate space and air circulation, and ease of access and identifiable location. Lawmakers are having none of it.
The K-12 Administration did not, in fact, receive any notifications. As Taichung First Senior High School is under the direct jurisdiction of the Taichung City Government, we contacted the Taichung City Education Bureau to find out if they were notified. They were not.
Lawmaker Ho Hsin-chun says the school and other meeting points chosen by the government met none of the Navy's three conditions, which were closest to residential areas, minimal traffic disruption, and empty space. She called on the ministry to be honest with the public and live up to its responsibilities.