The Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) yesterday announced 10 more confirmed cases of COVID-19, all Taiwanese who have returned from overseas, bringing the total number of cases in the nation to 77.
Minister of Health and Welfare Chen Shih-chung (陳時中), head of the center, said six of the new cases had joined tour groups to other nations, while the other four traveled overseas on their own.
The 68th, 69th, 70th and 73rd cases were in a tour group that visited Turkey from March 4 to Friday last week — the same group as four confirmed cases on Sunday and Monday, Chen said, adding that nine people in the 15-person group had tested positive for COVID-19.
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The 71st case is a man who joined a tour of Egypt from March 3 to Thursday last week, along with two confirmed cases on Sunday and Monday, he said.
The 72nd case is a woman who was in the same tour group to Austria and the Czech Republic from March 5 to Saturday last week as a case reported on Monday, he added.
The 74th case is a man in his 30s who visited Iceland with seven friends from Feb. 25 to Tuesday last week; the 75th case is a man in his 20s who visited Germany independently from Feb. 23 to March 8, Chen said.
The 76th case is a woman in her 30s who visited Paris with two friends from March 1 to Thursday last week, while the 77th case is a woman who traveled to the Czech Republic via Dubai, United Arab Emirates, on Jan. 20, visited family in New York on March 7, then returned to Taiwan on Monday, he said.
The CECC said that of the 77 confirmed cases in Taiwan, 50 were imported and 27 were locally transmitted infections.
In related news, more than 500 students at a university in southern Taiwan received a text message from the school’s academic affairs office early yesterday morning informing them that a suspected COVID-19 case had been detected on campus and that they should not attend school.
It said seven university courses would be conducted online and instructed those who received the message to perform self-health management by wearing a mask when going out and taking their temperature daily.
Asked if one of yesterday’s confirmed cases was a student at the university, Ministry of Education Department of Higher Education Deputy Director-General Chu Chun-chang (朱俊彰) said the 75th case is a student at the university, but that he had reported his travel history to the university administration and had not entered the campus since returning from overseas.
However, the man had dined with two of his classmates outside campus, so as soon as he tested positive, the university decided to take disease-prevention measures by asking students to stay at home, moving their courses online and disinfecting the campus, he said.
“We urge students who have returned from overseas to report their travel history to their school,” Chu said.
“In the past three days, we have urged people not to travel abroad during this extremely difficult situation,” Chen said.
“Please do not put yourself at risk by making unnecessary trips overseas and [risk] bringing danger back to Taiwan,” he added.
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