CORONAVIRUS/Taiwan confirms 5 new COVID-19 cases, all infected abroad

04/13/2020 04:43 PM
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Health Minister Chen Shih-chung (center)/ Photo courtesy of the CECC
Health Minister Chen Shih-chung (center)/ Photo courtesy of the CECC

Taipei, April 13 (CNA) Five new cases of the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) were confirmed in Taiwan on Monday, all of which contracted the disease overseas, according to the latest update on the outbreak from the Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC).

With the new cases, the total number of confirmed cases has reached 393 in Taiwan since the epidemic emerged in the Chinese city of Wuhan late last year, the CECC data shows.

The five patients (cases 389 to 393), three females and two males, are all Taiwanese nationals aged 50 and above and have been hospitalized.

They include four passengers who disembarked from the beleaguered Coral Princess cruise ship in Miami and returned to Taiwan on April 11 with three other relatives with whom they were traveling on the cruise liner, the CECC said.

According to the center, the four infected Coral Princess passengers flew to the United States with their three other relatives on Feb. 15, from where they traveled to Peru, Bolivia, Brazil and Chile before boarding the Coral Princess in Chile on March 5.

The cruise ship, with 1,898 (1,020 passengers and 878 workers) people on board, was scheduled to end its voyage in Argentina on March 19, but was unable to dock there or any ports in other countries due to border closures because of COVID-19, the center said.

After several days at sea, the ship was finally allowed to dock in Miami on April 4. By that time, however, 12 passengers and 10 members of the cruise staff had been infected by the virus, and three passenger had died, the CECC said.

The CECC was informed of the seven Taiwanese on board the Coral Princess by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs on April 7.

The seven passengers first flew on a charter plane organized by the cruise company to London before returning to Taiwan on a commercial flight with nobody sitting two rows in front of or behind them.

Upon their return on April 11, five of the seven passengers reported having possible symptoms of the disease, and all seven were tested, with four confirmed to have COVID-19 and three testing negative.

The three who tested negative will continue to be isolated in quarantine and will receive two more test before the two-week isolation period has expired, the CECC said.

As for case 393, the CECC explained that the patient, an expatriate living in the United States, began to suffer from diarrhea on April 1.

The person returned to Taiwan on April 11 with symptoms of possible viral infection, and as a result was sent from the airport to a hospital to be tested for COVID-19. The result came back positive on Monday, according to the CECC.

The patient is related to case 384, who returned from the U.S. on April 10 and was confirmed to be infected the following day, the CECC said, adding that two cases had come in contact with infected patients in the U.S.

(By Chen Wei-ting and Elizabeth Hsu)

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