The Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) yesterday announced six new cases of COVID-19 in Taiwan, all believed to have been imported, the highest number of new confirmed cases in one day, which brought the total to 59.
Minister of Health and Welfare Chen Shih-chung (陳時中), who heads the center, said that the nation’s 54th case visited Thailand and Japan; the 55th case led a tour group of 32 people to Egypt; the 56th and 57th cases traveled to Turkey in a group of 15 people; the 58th case is a student who studied in Spain; and the 59th case is a student who visited Greece for about a month.
The nation’s 47th to 59th cases are all imported, except the 50th case, who was in Taiwan, but contracted the virus from his friends visiting him from the US, Chen said.
Photo: Chien Jung-fong, Taipei Times
The 54th case is a man in his 30s who visited Thailand from Feb. 28 to March 1 and Hokkaido from March 5 to 8, the center said.
He developed a runny nose on his way to Taiwan on Wednesday, and sought treatment for fatigue and a headache the next day, it said.
The 55th case is a man in his 50s who led a tour group to Egypt from March 3 to Thursday, returned to Taiwan the next day and sought treatment for fatigue, muscle pain and fever, the center said.
The 56th and 57th cases are a man in his 40s and a woman in her 70s who traveled together to Turkey via Dubai and returned to Taiwan on Friday, it said.
The man started to feel ill in Turkey and had an itchy throat, diarrhea and a fever by Friday, while the woman developed a fever on Friday, it added.
The 58th case is a woman in her 20s who has been studying in Spain since January. She developed a mild fever on Thursday and was found to have a fever when she arrived at an airport quarantine station in Taiwan on Friday, the center said.
The 59th case is a teenage student who visited Greece with his family in January, returned to Taiwan on March 5, developed a sore throat on Thursday, and sought treatment for coughing, a runny nose and a headache on Friday, it said.
Centers for Disease Control (CDC) Deputy Director-General Chuang Jen-hsiang (莊人祥) said that as all five cases were confirmed only yesterday, investigations are being carried out to find people they had been in contact with, who would be put under home isolation and testing.
Ministry of Education K-12 Education Administration Director-General Peng Fu-yuan (彭富源) said that classes at the high school attended by the 59th case would be suspended for 14 days.
Information about his close contacts and attendance records would be investigated and submitted to the CECC, while the school would disinfect the campus, he said, adding that extra disease prevention resources, including masks, would be supplied to the school.
Five of the new cases were confirmed shortly after their return to Taiwan and their contact investigation would be prompt, Chen said, but added that the 59th case has been in Taiwan for a while and has attended school, so the CECC is concerned that the case might have caused community transmission.
The center also raised its travel notice for Egypt to a level 2 “alert,” urging people to practice enhanced precautions.
In light of the imported cases, “the CECC must again urge people to avoid all unnecessary travel abroad, because the risk is high, and it does harm if people bring the virus back to Taiwan,” Chen said.
The CECC would proactively screen people in Taiwan who had been to Europe within the previous 14 days and have COVID-19 symptoms, he said.
The announcement came after the center on Saturday said that starting tomorrow, people arriving from 27 European countries it has designated with a level 3 “warning” travel notice would be quarantined at home for 14 days.
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