COVID-19 patient frequently used public transport in greater Taipei: CECC

02/27/2020 09:43 PM
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Taipei, Feb. 27 (CNA) An Indonesian caregiver working in Taiwan illegally, who was confirmed as the country's 32nd COVID-19 coronavirus case Wednesday, frequently used public transport in the greater Taipei area and passed through Taipei Main Station several times from Feb. 16-24, the Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) said Thursday, cautioning people who have visited these places to be on alert. 

The woman, who overstayed her visa and worked illegally, temporarily provided care to a northern Taiwan man in his 80s -- the country's 27th confirmed COVID-19 case -- in the hospital from Feb. 11-16, according to the CECC.

The woman, in her 30s, was confirmed as the sixth case associated with a family cluster of the virus also responsible for cases 27-31. 

The woman traveled on public transport around the greater Taipei area, using buses and the Taipei Mass Rapid Transit (MRT) system from Feb. 16 to Feb. 24 when she also attended events in public places, said Health Minister Chen Shih-chung (陳時中), who heads the CECC.

According to information provided by the CECC, during the period, the woman visited Taipei Main Station, Shulin Train Station, Banqiao Train Station and took Sanchong Bus "Blue 38," the Taipei MRT Tamsui-Xinyi Line, Bannan Line and Zhonghe-Xinlu Line.

She also went to Taipei City Mall, which is connected with Taipei Main Station, and Longshan Temple in Wanhua District, according to the CECC.

The CECC has made public the migrant caregiver's movements on the website of the Centers for Disease Control, while reminding people who visited those locations to conduct self-health management for 14 days as the virus is highly contagious.

Health agencies worked with national police agencies to find the woman after the octogenarian she looked after tested positive.

After a four-hour search, police found her caring for a patient at another hospital and placed her under quarantine in the hospital for lab tests on Monday evening.

The woman had a sore throat when she was found, and tested positive on Wednesday.

Chuang Jen-hsiang (莊人祥), deputy-director of Taiwan's Centers for Disease Control, told CNA Thursday that the migrant caregiver's movements were released because of her frequent visits to train stations and MRT stations and because it was difficult for authorities to track down all the people she had contact with.

He said the migrant caregiver was not the first individual to have their travel history made public, noting that a Taiwanese businessman who visited a dance club in Kaohsiung and was later confirmed with COVID-19, had his movements released in January because the authorities had difficulty tracking down all the people he may have come into contact with.

In early February, the government also released details of locations visited by passengers from the Diamond Princess cruise ship during their stopover in Taiwan, Chuang said, adding that the migrant caregiver was not singled out due to her nationality or job.

Since the coronavirus emerged in December in the Chinese city of Wuhan, Taiwan has recorded 2,086 suspected cases, 32 of which have been confirmed, with 2,024 ruled out and the remainder under quarantine.

Of the 32 confirmed cases, there has been one death, while six patients have been discharged from hospital, according to the CECC.

(By Chen Chih-chung, Chen Wei-ting and Evelyn Kao)

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