CORONAVIRUS/Taiwan adds 27 new COVID-19 cases; total rises to 135 (update)

03/20/2020 07:06 PM
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CNA file photo
CNA file photo

Taipei, March 20 (CNA) Twenty-seven new COVID-19 cases were confirmed in Taiwan Friday, bringing the total number around the country to 135, the Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) said that day.

Of the new cases, 24 (15 women and nine men) were imported, with the ages of those infected ranging from senior high school students to people in their 80s, the CECC's latest updates show.

All are Taiwanese nationals, except for one American man in his 40s.

Returning to Taiwan between March 6 and March 18, all those infected began to develop symptoms between March 3 and March 18, the updates indicate.

Of the 24 imported cases, 12 had been to countries in Europe (some traveling to more than one country), including France (4), the United Kingdom (4), Spain (4), Portugal (2) and Germany (2), according to CECC data.

Six had been to the U.S., one had been to Canada, two had been to Egypt, one to Turkey, one to the Philippines and one to Singapore, the U.S. and Japan.

Of the 27 cases, only three were aged 60 or older, while 19 were under 40, indicating that the disease does not only infect the elderly, the data shows.

In his daily press briefing, CECC head and Health Minister Chen Shih-chung (陳時中) said that one of the latest imported cases is part of a cluster infection involving a group tour to Egypt.

As of Friday, there were six people in the cluster (five tour group members, plus one who had contact with the infected individual), he added.

One other case, a woman in her 60s who traveled to Turkey from March 4 to March 13, is also part of another infection cluster that involved a tour group to Turkey. The cluster has seen 14 people infected, Chen noted.

As for the remaining three cases (two women and one man), their infections originated in Taiwan, with one having an unknown source and having not traveled abroad in the past several months, Chen said.

The woman, in her 30s, fell ill on March 17 and tested positive on Friday for the coronavirus, Chen said, noting an investigation has been launched on the patient's family and her workplace to ascertain the source of infection.

One of the other two indigenous cases is a classmate of the senior high school student who was confirmed as the country's 59th case on March 15 and whose infection became apparent after returning from a trip to Greece, according to Chen.

The teenage girl was the second classmate of the 59th case to be infected, Chen said, adding that from Friday, their school was closed until March 29.

The third case is a man in his 30s, who said he had not traveled abroad recently but began to show symptoms on March 17, one day before he visited a doctor and took a COVID-19 test, the result of which came back positive on Friday.

According to Chen, the man reported that he had contact on March 12 and 13 with a supervisor who had just returned from the United States and who developed symptoms suspected of being COVID-19 infection on March 14.

In addition, his two foreign colleagues at the same office also showed "suspected symptoms" on March 17 and 18, respectively, Chen said.

(By Elizabeth Hsu)

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