CORONAVIRUS/Taiwan tests 189 contacts identified in suspected domestic COVID-19 case

07/28/2020 08:14 PM
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CNA file photo
CNA file photo

Taipei, July 28 (CNA) Taiwan health authorities have tested 189 people who may have come into contact with a migrant worker that tested positive for COVID-19 shortly after he returned to Thailand last week, the Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) said Tuesday.

As of Monday, 189 people at the company where the Thai man was employed had been tested, and the results for 28 of them had been obtained -- all showing negative, CECC spokesman Chuang Jen-hsiang (莊人祥) said at a press briefing in Taipei.

In the CECC's efforts to identify and test the man's contacts, it carried out the first round of testing on 29 people who had either shared a work dormitory with him or had otherwise been in close contact, Chuang said.

"The nucleic acid test results for 28 of those people came back negative at noon today, and there is still one result pending," Chuang said.

Among the 28 people, 18 are Thai workers who live on the company's dormitory where the man was housed, Chuang said, adding that 17 of them are in quarantine, while one is in a hospital negative pressure room with cough symptoms.

The 28 workers were also tested for COVID-19 antibodies to see if they had contracted the coronavirus earlier, he said.

In addition, another 160 employees at the company were tested Tuesday morning, and the results will be made public at the CECC's press briefing Wednesday, Chuang said.

Based on information provided by Thai authorities, Chuang said, the CECC learned that the man, who came to Taiwan in January 2018 for employment, developed diarrhea the day after he returned to Thailand on July 21 but had none of the other classic symptoms of COVID-19.

When the man was tested on July 25, however, the results came back positive, Chuang said.

In the CECC's efforts to trace the source of the infection, it found that the man mainly stayed in his workplace or dormitory, with occasional visits to supermarkets on his days off, Chuang said.

"The source of the infection is currently unclear, so we will continue to ask people to seek medical attention if they have any symptoms of COVID-19," Chuang said. "We're also advising people to continue to wear masks in crowded areas and maintain social distancing."

Meanwhile, Chan Chang-chuan (詹長權), dean of National Taiwan University's College of Public Health, said the case highlights the likelihood of asymptomatic cases lurking in Taiwan.

Furthermore, with COVID-19 cases still on the rise in other countries, there should be collective quarantine and testing of all international students and migrant workers entering Taiwan, Chan said at a separate press conference.

He warned of a possible second wave of COVID-19 infections in winter, which is also the flu season, saying that such a scenario could present a challenge because of the similarities between the symptoms of COVID-19 and influenza.

(By William Yen)

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