People in COVID-19 cluster took Taipei MRT, visited restaurants: CECC

05/02/2021 08:42 PM
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Health and Welfare Minister Chen Shih-chung. Photo courtesy of the CECC May 2, 2021
Health and Welfare Minister Chen Shih-chung. Photo courtesy of the CECC May 2, 2021

Taipei, May 2 (CNA) Two of the four people confirmed Sunday as domestic COVID-19 cases had visited restaurants in Taipei and traveled on public transport in the city before they tested positive for the disease, according to the Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC).

The two people are the son and daughter of a housekeeping employee at an airport hotel in Taoyuan, where a COVID-19 cluster has emerged over the past week, the CECC said.

The employee, a Taiwanese woman in her 60s, tested positive last Friday. Her son, a man in his 30s, developed a cough and muscle pains on April 29, while the daughter, also in her 30s, had a sore throat and fever April 28-29.

They both were confirmed Sunday, along with two others, to have contracted COVID-19 locally, according to the CECC.

On April 27, the son took a bus in Taipei around noon, withdrew money from an ATM at a 7-Eleven on Guangfu North Road, and ate lunch at Balle Balle Indian Restaurant & Bar on the same street, the CECC said.

On April 28 and April 29, he took buses between his home and his workplace around noon and late at night, the CECC said.

The daughter of the employee, meanwhile, took the Taipei Mass Rapid Transit (MRT) to work April 26, 27 and 28, boarding at Dingxi Station, transferring at Guting, and getting off at Ximen, according to the CECC.

The CECC said it was still trying to determine the exact times when she took the MRT and what mode of transport she used to return home. (Update: CECC releases more details on where a domestic COVID-19 case visited)

On the evening of April 26, she ate at a restaurant called 72 degrees Celsius Sous Vide, on Baoping Street in New Taipei, the CECC said.

People who had been to these places, at around the same time, should closely monitor their health and seek medical attention if they develop symptoms such as fever, difficulty breathing, and diarrhea before May 12, Health and Welfare Minister Chen Shih-chung (陳時中), who heads the CECC, said at a press briefing.

The two cases are among the latest linked to China Airlines (CAL), one of Taiwan's major carriers, and Novotel Taipei Taoyuan International Airport hotel, which is part of the carrier's complex in Taoyuan.

As of Sunday, four Novotel hotel employees, three of their family members, 10 CAL pilots, and seven of the pilots' relatives had tested positive for COVID-19, according to the CECC.

The cases of the Novotel employees, their family members, and the pilots' relatives are deemed as domestic cases, but the CECC has not yet classified the pilots' infections, including one that was confirmed in Australia.

The CECC said that because some of the CAL pilots stayed at Novotel before testing positive, and the genome sequencing of the virus in the pilots and a hotel employee matched, there is a possibility that the cases are connected, but the chain of infection is still unclear.

People should be on alert until mid-May with regard to those cases, Chen said.

Also on Sunday, the CECC said that a student at JinWen University of Science and Technology in New Taipei, who works as an intern at Novotel, has been sent to a government quarantine center for 14 days.

Ninety-one teachers and students at the school, who visited Novotel and dined there on April 27, have been asked not to enter the university campus for two weeks, during which their classes will be held virtually, the CECC said.

Another intern at Novotel, who studies at Chinese Culture University in Taipei, is in quarantine at home, according to the CECC.

(By Chiang Yi-ching)

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