CORONAVIRUS/Taiwan confirms 3 new cases of COVID-19, total at 376

04/07/2020 03:25 PM
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Health Minister Chen Shih-chung (陳時中) / Photo courtesy of the Central Epidemic Command Center
Health Minister Chen Shih-chung (陳時中) / Photo courtesy of the Central Epidemic Command Center

Taipei, April 7 (CNA) Three new cases of the new coronavirus disease (COVID-19) were confirmed in Taiwan on Tuesday, bringing the total in the country to 376 since the pandemic began late last year, according to the Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC).

All of the newly confirmed patients, who were all Taiwanese nationals, contracted the disease overseas, said Health Minister Chen Shih-chung (陳時中), who also heads the CECC.

One of the cases, a man in his 20s, who was studying in the United Kingdom between Sept. 11, 2019 and March 29, started displaying such symptoms as coughing, a runny and congested nose, diarrhea, and an abnormal sense of smell on April 4, the CECC said.

The man was under home quarantine when his symptoms started and was tested after he sought medical attention on April 5, the CECC said in a statement.

Since March 19, all individuals arriving in Taiwan from abroad, regardless of where they are coming from, must remain in quarantine at home for 14 days to avoid potentially spreading the disease to others if they have been infected overseas.

Another case involved a woman in her 20s, who visited relatives in France and also took a trip to the U.K., the Netherlands, and Belgium from Feb. 25 to March 27.

She started showing symptoms of the disease on March 30 that eventually included nasal congestion, a sore throat, the loss of smell, fever, and diarrhea, the CECC said.

The woman was under home quarantine when her symptoms started and was tested after she sought medical attention on April 3, the CECC said.

The third case was also a woman in her 20s, who was studying in the United States between Aug. 21, 2019 and March 30. Her symptoms, which began on April 2, were coughing, nasal congestion and nausea, according to CECC records.

The woman was on the same China Airlines flight CI011 from New York to Taiwan on March 30 that transported nine other previously confirmed cases, the CECC said.

The seat on the flight the woman sat in was 65J, while the other nine previously confirmed cases sat in seats 40H, 42G, 43K, 47B, 49E, 49F, 65H, 66H, and 67C.

It is believed that the majority of the cases were already infected with the coronavirus before they boarded the plane, Chuang Jen-hsiang (莊人祥), CDC deputy-director and CECC spokesman said.

Chuang Jen-hsiang (莊人祥), CDC deputy-director and CECC spokesman / Photo courtesy of the Central Epidemic Command Center
Chuang Jen-hsiang (莊人祥), CDC deputy-director and CECC spokesman / Photo courtesy of the Central Epidemic Command Center

"It is also possible that some of them were infected while on the flight, but the chances are higher that they were infected while they were working or studying in the U.S.," Chuang said.

To date, 324 of Taiwan's 376 cases have been classified as imported, while the other 52 are believed to be local infections, according to CECC statistics.

Sixty-one of Taiwan's COVID-19 patients have been released from quarantine, while five have died. The others are still being quarantined and observed in hospitals, the CECC said.

Globally, COVID-19 has infected 1,298,066 patients in 182 countries and regions, including 356,942 in the U.S., 135,032 in Spain, 132,547 in Italy, 95,391 in Germany, and 81,740 in China, with a total of 73,444 fatalities, according to CECC statistics as of Tuesday.

(By William Yen)

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