CORONAVIRUS/Beijing COVID-19 outbreak did not come from Taiwan: CECC

06/20/2020 03:58 PM
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Residents in Beijing are being tested in a stadium in the Chinese capital on June 14. / Photo: China News Service
Residents in Beijing are being tested in a stadium in the Chinese capital on June 14. / Photo: China News Service

Taipei, June 20 (CNA) Despite similarities in the strain types, a recent COVID-19 coronavirus cluster outbreak in Beijing did not originate from Taiwan, the Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) said Saturday.

After an investigation, the strain in question was imported to Taiwan by 13 patients who were confirmed with the coronavirus after they returned from a holiday to Turkey between March 4-13, CECC spokesman Chuang Jen-hsiang (莊人祥) said in a video statement.

"It looks like the patients were most likely infected in Turkey and the European strain was then imported to Taiwan," Chuang said.

When Taiwan discovered the strain, the country uploaded the viral sequences to international platforms to share the information it had with other countries, Chuang said.

He made the statement in the wake of recent media reports of experts in Hong Kong claiming that the strain currently in Beijing is very similar to the ones in the Czech Republic, Taiwan and Europe.

Despite the claim, Chinese media reports have also reported that the new local cluster in Beijing, linked to the city's Xinfadi wholesale market, is closely related to the European strain.

After over 50 days without a locally transmitted case of the coronavirus in Beijing, the city reported one case June 11 with new cases hiking to 183 as of Friday.

Since the start of the pandemic, China has recorded a total of 84,970 cases with 4,645 deaths, according to the World Health Organization.

Meanwhile, Taiwan has confirmed 446 cases, with 434 recoveries, seven deaths and five patients in hospital quarantine, according to the CECC. The last time Taiwan recorded a domestic infection was on April 12, according to CECC statistics.

Taiwan has been praised by the international community for its swift prevention efforts and its donations of medical supplies and resources to other countries.

(By William Yen)

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