The right to health is one of the fundamental human rights recognized in the Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights. As the institution responsible for protecting human rights, the Control Yuan (CY) emphasizes the right to health and issues derived therefrom, such as public health issues. By utilizing its powers, the CY safeguards the life and health of citizens, as well as their right to medical treatment in times of need.
In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Taiwan Centers for Disease Control, part of the Ministry of Health and Welfare, set up a Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) on Jan. 20, 2020 to coordinate resources and manpower. Within five weeks, the CECC had developed and implemented a 124-point action plan that included measures on border control, case identification, quarantine, public education, combating fake news and public education. Moreover, the Ministry of Health and Welfare began the requisition of medical and surgical masks on Jan. 31, and on Feb. 6 launched an ID-based rationing system for face masks. Furthermore, the Special Act on COVID-19 Prevention, Relief and Restoration was passed on Feb. 25 upon its third reading in the Legislative Yuan with the aim of stabilizing the financial system and revitalizing the economy.
The CY spares no effort to protect public health and the right to health care. During her past tenure as Minister of Health, CY President Chang Po-ya led the planning and launch of Taiwan’s National Health Insurance system, ensuring universal health coverage without impoverishment and fulfilling the right to health as specified in the international covenant. To gain an insight into COVID-19 response, CY Members inspected the Taipei City Government on the morning of Feb. 25 (the first day of the new academic semester), and were briefed about the administration’s COVID-19 practices in the company of the Chief Secretaries of the Ministry of Health and Welfare and the Ministry of Transportation and Communications.
The City Government had distributed face masks and other health resources ahead of the new semester, prepared negative-pressure isolation rooms in hospitals, conducted disinfection operations at tourist sites, and developed plans for people under home isolation/home quarantine going AWOL. CY Members paid special focus on the home-isolation/home-quarantine monitoring mechanism as well as the backup for negative-pressure isolation wards. They also asked questions regarding the protection against the pandemic in kindergartens, the disinfection of sewage and wastewater, the suspension of indoor events and outdoor gatherings, and pandemic-related emergency funds, as well as the fines for breaching quarantine. These questions were answered by the deputy mayor and the city administration one by one.
Shortly after the briefing, CY Members inspected the implementation of disease prevention measures at the Taipei Songshan Senior Service and Day Care Center in the company of the deputy mayor. They also conducted on-site inspections at the Taipei Performing Arts Center and Taipei Children’s Amusement Park. Finally, CY Members acknowledged the service of the city administration and frontline health workers, thanking them for their ongoing and unwavering dedication.
Source: Control Yuan (CY), Taiwan