CORONAVIRUS/Filipina transfer passenger no major COVID-19 threat to Taiwan: CECC

07/06/2020 12:14 PM
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Chuang Jen-hsiang (莊人祥) / Photo courtesy of the CECC
Chuang Jen-hsiang (莊人祥) / Photo courtesy of the CECC

Taipei, July 6 (CNA) A Filipina who tested positive for COVID-19 Saturday in Hong Kong after transiting through Taiwan a day earlier does not pose a major threat to the country, the Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) said Monday.

The case was not a major threat because proper precautions were taken, with no Taiwanese passengers seated in the two rows in front and behind the woman during her flights on the same day from Manila to Taiwan and then from Taiwan to Hong Kong, CECC spokesman Chuang Jen-hsiang (莊人祥) said.

The woman, in her 30s, arrived in Taiwan at around 3:00 p.m. Friday on an EVA Air flight from Manila and departed on another EVA Air flight to Hong Kong at 4:40 p.m. the same day, Chuang said.

"She was in Taiwan for less than two hours," Chuang said.

During that time all passengers waiting for their transfer flights wore masks, while airport ground staff also wore protective goggles, gloves and masks when they assisted the passengers, Chuang said.

Currently, no cabin crew or airport ground staff need to be quarantined, Chuang added.

When asked by media about the most likely origin of the infection, Chuang replied that the woman was tested right after she entered Hong Kong and having spent less than two hours in Taiwan, it is most likely she was infected in the Philippines.

"Our evaluation is that the latest finding poses a very small threat to Taiwan," Chuang said.

Taiwan has been praised by the international community for its swift and successful disease prevention efforts, which has allowed the country to hold many cultural and sporting events when similar events around the world have been postponed or canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Taiwan has not recorded any locally transmitted cases since April 12, according to CECC data.

Excluding the latest finding, 358 of Taiwan's 449 cases of COVID-19 have been classified as imported, while 55 are believed to be local infections, according to CECC statistics.

The other 36 cases were a cluster infection aboard a Navy vessel that was on a goodwill mission in the Pacific in March, which the CECC has since said originated in Taiwan.

(By William Yen)

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