CORONAVIRUS/Four new COVID-19 cases reported, pilots' infection source still unknown

04/21/2021 04:38 PM
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Health and Welfare Minister Chen Shih-chung (center). Photo courtesy of the CECC
Health and Welfare Minister Chen Shih-chung (center). Photo courtesy of the CECC

Taipei, April 21 (CNA) The Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) said Wednesday that four new imported COVID-19 cases have been confirmed in Taiwan, and that officials are still investigating how two Taiwanese pilots became infected with the disease.

One of the new cases involves a Taiwanese man in his 40s who works in Slovakia, said Health and Welfare Minister Chen Shih-chung (陳時中), who heads the CECC, at a press briefing in Taipei.

The man previously tested positive for COVID-19 in Slovakia in March, though he had proof of a negative test result issued within three days of his flight to Taiwan on April 4, Chen said.

He took a self-paid COVID-19 test at a hospital immediately after finishing quarantine on April 19, and the results came back positive on Wednesday, Chen said.

Two other cases, one involving an Indonesian man in his 40s and a Filipino woman in her 20s, were confirmed with COVID-19 during quarantine, according to Chen.

The final case reported Wednesday involved another Philippine national also in her 20s. She was confirmed as being infected with COVID-19 on Wednesday after finishing quarantine and self-health management in Taiwan, Chen said.

All of the people she came into contact with in Taiwan were adequately protected, so no one will be required to quarantine or follow self-health management protocols, Chen said.

Also on Wednesday, CECC spokesman Chuang Jen-hsiang (莊人祥) said that they are still looking into how two Taiwanese pilots, who tested positive for COVID-19 the previous day became infected.

The pilots returned from an assignment to the United States last Friday, and test results show that both only recently contracted the disease, Chuang said.

An investigation into whether they were infected in the U.S., or if one of them contracted the disease first and then infected the other, is still ongoing, said Chuang.

In the meantime, the CECC has tested 143 of their 168 contacts in Taiwan for COVID-19, with 132 returning negative results and 11 results pending.

Three of the contacts, who are employees at a quarantine hotel where one of the pilots stayed, were deemed to be adequately protected during their encounter and will not be tested, Chuang said.

The CECC will soon test the remaining 22 contacts, he said.

To date, Taiwan has recorded 1,082 cases of COVID-19, 964 of which have been classified as imported. Of the total, 1,038 have recovered, 11 have died and 33 are in hospital, according to CECC statistics as of Wednesday.

Globally, COVID-19 has infected over 142.4 million people in 193 countries and regions, with more than 3 million fatalities, CECC data shows.

(By Chiang Yi-ching)

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