Close to 3,000 people have died of COVID-19 in Taiwan since the pandemic began more than two years ago. Central Epidemic Command Center chief Chen Shih-chung recently said deaths have to be reported within 24 hours but there is no "mandatory cremation within 24 hours" rule. The KMT is calling on the central government to set clear guidelines.
Chen Shih-chung (June 2, 2022), Commander, Central Epidemic Command Center: “As for dead bodies, they can be cremated or buried deep underground. Cremations have their own procedures. Deep burials require applications. So, it's not like dead bodies must be processed within 24 hours. They just have to be reported within 24 hours.”
On June 8, 2021, Central Epidemic Command Center deputy chief Chen Tsung-yen discussed whether the bodies of people who died of COVID-19 had to be cremated within 24 hours.
Chen Tsung-yen (June 8, 2021), Deputy Chief, Central Epidemic Command Center: “The management agencies of local mortuaries still follow a 24-hour cremation rule. They also follow CECC regulations and double-bag bodies.”
Wang Yu-min, Chair, Culture and Communications Committee, KMT: “The Ministry of the Interior manages all funerary matters. They admitted it themselves. They know that a 24-hour cremation rule is being followed locally. Why is Chen Shih-chung trying to escape responsibility? ”
Are the guidelines unclear, or did the entire mortuary industry misunderstand the central government's directives? The Kuomintang is criticizing Chen Shih-chung for pointing his fingers at other people, while the Democratic Progressive Party says the CECC never had a mandatory 24-hour cremation policy.
Cheng Yun-peng, Secretary-General, Legislative Caucus, DPP: “"Severe special infectious pneumonia" cases must be reported within 24 hours, and dead bodies either have to be cremated or (the family) has to get approval from local authorities for deep burial. There is no such "cremation within 24 hours" rule.”
The secretary-general of the DPP's legislative caucus, Cheng Yun-peng, says because COVID-19 is so infectious and there are also cost considerations, morticians are against leaving dead bodies in storage for too long. According to Cheng, this is why Chen said what he said despite the lack of guidelines to back it up. The KMT caucus is calling on the Ministry of Health and Welfare to set clear guidelines and cremation timetables to stop the confusion.