CORONAVIRUS/Fifth domestic COVID-19 case confirmed in Taoyuan hospital cluster

01/18/2021 04:53 PM
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CECC officials at the press conference Monday. Photo courtesy of the CECC Jan. 18, 2021
CECC officials at the press conference Monday. Photo courtesy of the CECC Jan. 18, 2021

Taipei, Jan. 18 (CNA) Taiwan on Monday reported the fifth COVID-19 case in a domestic cluster infection at a hospital in Taoyuan, where four other medical workers were confirmed over the past week to be infected, according to the Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC).

The latest case is a nurse who had tested negative on Jan. 12, said Health and Welfare Minister Chen Shih-chung (陳時中), who heads the CECC, at a press conference.

On Jan. 14, however, the nurse developed symptoms such as a stuffy nose and cough, and a second test found Monday that she was infected with the disease, Chen said.

She was the head nurse on a ward where a doctors tested positive Sunday, and the number of cases among staff at the hospital in Taoyuan has now reached five, according to the CECC.

Chen said the first case at the hospital, a doctor, had most likely been infected while treating a Taiwanese man in his 60s, who returned from the United States at the end of December and developed a severe COVID-19 infection.

The doctor, who tested positive on Jan. 11, infected his live-in partner, a nurse at the same hospital. Another nurse, who had contact with the doctor at work, tested positive on Saturday, according to the CECC.

By Sunday, the CECC had confirmed the infection of another doctors at the hospital, and the new case on Monday brought the total number in that cluster to five.

Meanwhile, Taiwan also reported six new imported cases of COVID-19 on Monday.

Three of the new cases are in a Taiwanese family that lives in the U.S. and returned to Taiwan on Jan. 4, Chen said.

The mother, who is in her 40s, reported symptoms such as a cough, fatigue and fever while in quarantine, and her COVID-19 test came back positive Monday, Chen said.

Her son and daughter, both under 10 years old, also tested positive but have been asymptomatic so far, Chen said.

One of the other cases is a Swedish man in his 50s, who works in Taiwan. He went to the United Kingdom on a business trip in early December, returned to Taiwan on Jan. 3, and tested negative for COVID-19 a day later, but his test at the end of his quarantine was positive, Chen said.

Under Taiwan's current regulations, all travelers arriving from the U.K. are tested for COVID-19 at the start and end of their mandatory 14-day quarantine period.

The fifth imported case is a teenaged student from the Philippines, who arrived in Taiwan on Dec. 31 and tested positive for COVID-19 the day after her quarantine ended, Chen said.

Five people who had traveled in a car with her are now in quarantine, he said.

The last imported case reported Monday was a Burmese national, who works as a crew member on a ship and tested positive after completing his 14-day quarantine and seven days of self-health management, Chen said.

To date, Taiwan has recorded 862 cases of COVID-19, with 762 classified as imported. Of the total, 756 patients have recovered, seven have died and 99 are in hospital, CECC data shows.

Globally, COVID-19 has infected over 94.9 million people in 193 countries and regions, with more than 2 million fatalities, according to CECC statistics as of Monday.

(By Chiang Yi-ching)


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