An American man was yesterday confirmed as Taiwan’s 50th COVID-19 case, the Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) said, adding that it would consider placing certain US states on the nation’s travel advisory list.
The coronavirus outbreak in the US has almost reached “a critical point” and Taiwan could issue a travel warning for the US, said Minister of Health and Welfare Chen Shih-chung (陳時中), who heads the center.
However, due to the size of the US, the center would issue the advisories at the state or regional level, he added.
Photo: George Tsorng, Taipei Times
Chen did not answer media queries on whether the US capital, Washington, and the states of Washington, New York and California would be listed first.
Taiwan’s newest case is an American office worker in his 50s who lives in central Taiwan and might have contracted the disease after hosting two American couples on Feb. 24, Chen said.
The man was on Saturday last week hospitalized in a quarantine ward after experiencing chills, coughing and a fever for more than a week, and his positive test result was confirmed yesterday, he said.
The man is enrolled in the National Health Insurance program, but the cost of his hospitalization would be covered by the central government per the Communicable Disease Control Act (傳染病防治法), Centers for Disease Control Director-General Chou Jih-haw (周志浩) said.
A CECC investigation found that one of the man’s friends had experienced chills, coughing and fatigue on the group’s arrival on Feb. 24, while their partner exhibited similar symptoms after leaving Taiwan on Feb. 26, Chen said.
A relative of the couple living in Seattle was on Tuesday confirmed to be infected, he said.
One member of the other couple also exhibited respiratory symptoms after leaving Taiwan, also on Feb. 26, he added.
Judging from his contact history, the 50th case was likely infected by his friends, Chen said, adding that while the man developed symptoms in Taiwan, the cause of infection was probably from abroad.
The CECC has identified 64 people who had contact with the 50th case, and it would continue to investigate the places the man and his friends visited while they were in Taiwan, he said.
Asked about the effects of a month-long lockdown of Manila on Philippine workers in Taiwan and Taiwanese in the Philippines, Chen said that while he is not sure about the severity of the situation, the outbreak in the capital, or even the entire nation, might be more serious than its confirmed cases imply.
The CECC would maintain communication with Taiwan’s representative office, travelers and businesspeople in the Philippines to obtain more information about the local situation, he said.
In related news, the 361 Taiwanese who were evacuated from China on charter flights earlier this week have all tested negative for the novel coronavirus, Chen said.
They remain housed in several quarantine facilities and the CECC would continue to monitor their health, he said.
The CECC said that it is developing an information system to monitor the whereabouts and health of people undergoing 14-day self-health management — a quarantine measure for people returning from countries or regions under a level 1 or 2 travel advisory.
Passengers on domestic flights would not be allowed to board if their temperature is more than 37.5°C or if they refuse to have their temperatures taken, Uni Air (立榮航空) and Mandarin Airlines (華信航空) said yesterday. The two airlines made the announcement after their parent companies — EVA Airways (長榮航空) and China Airlines (CAL, 中華航空) respectively — announced similar pre-boarding requirements on Saturday, along with a requirement that passengers wear masks during their flights, except when they have meals or drinks. Uni Air and Mandarin Airlines said domestic passengers would be required to wear masks from the time they start using self-help
CASE COUNT RISES: One of the new domestic cases is a nurse at a long-term care center, but so far tests on all the residents and other staff have been negative Flight transits through all Taiwanese airports would be banned for two weeks, starting tomorrow, the Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) said yesterday as it announced 16 new confirmed cases of COVID-19, bringing the nation’s total to 169. Minister of Health and Welfare Chen Shih-chung (陳時中), head of the center, said all flight transits would be banned through April 7. In light of the rapidly increasing number of imported COVID-19 cases, there was a need to further reduce cross-border travel and the risk of disease transmission, the center said. The Civil Aeronautics Administration has informed airlines about the new measures, and anyone who has
A public health expert yesterday warned that too many people are meeting in small groups in coffee shops and restaurants without keeping a proper distance from one another, as he urged the government to loosen the criteria for testing young Taiwanese returning from abroad for COVID-19. People need to keep a social distance of at least 2m, National Taiwan University (NTU) College of Public Health dean Chan Chang-chuan (詹長權) said as the college presented its seventh weekly report on COVID-19 at a morning news conference. More than 300,000 confirmed cases of the virus have been reported in more than three-quarters of all
MORE CASES EXPECTED: Many young Taiwanese would be returning home over the next two weeks, as schools in many nations closed, the health minister said Twenty-six new COVID-19 cases were confirmed yesterday, including five clusters, and all but one were imported, bringing Taiwan’s total number to 195, as border controls and home quarantine measures prove their effectiveness, the head of the Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) said. Twelve of the new cases were in people tested at airports upon their return, 11 were in people under home quarantine and two were people who tested positive after seeking medical treatment, Minister of Health and Welfare Chen Shih-chung (陳時中), who heads the center, said at its daily news conference. “The new domestic case is a woman who lives with