Virus did not spread into community: minister on driver's death

02/21/2020 09:40 PM
Health Minister Chen Shih-chung (陳時中)
Health Minister Chen Shih-chung (陳時中)

Taipei, Feb. 21 (CNA) The COVID-19 coronavirus case concerning the deceased private driver for hire in central Taiwan did not evolve into community-level transmissions, Health Minister Chen Shih-chung (陳時中) said Friday.

The driver, who died last Sunday, was the 19th confirmed case in Taiwan and the first to die from COVID-19 in the country.

He passed on the virus to four relatives during a family gathering on Jan. 27.

According to the Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC), those he infected included his younger sister, younger brother, mother and niece's husband.

Centers for Disease Control Deputy Director-General Chuang Jen-hsiang (莊人祥) said Friday evening that all 252 people identified as having come into contact with the driver and his four family members have tested negative for the virus.

A Taiwanese businessman who recently returned from China's Zhejiang Province and who was believed to have passed the virus to the private driver, as well as three of the businessman's family members have also tested negative, according to the CECC.

Such results indicate that the virus did not spread into the community and people should not panic, Chen assured the public.

With regards to the novel coronavirus' incubation period, he said most cases had an incubation period of two to 14 days, but in some cases, it could be as long as 24 or 29 days.

(By Chang Min-hsuan and Ko Lin)

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