The government yesterday implemented a level 3 “warning” travel advisory on all countries, while the Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) reported 27 new cases of COVID-19, bringing the nation’s total of confirmed cases to 135.
The center also reported the nation’s second death, a man in his 80s in northern Taiwan.
The man had high blood pressure, diabetes and kidney disease, and despite being treated with anti-HIV and anti-malaria drugs, he died of complications due to blood poisoning, center advisory specialist panel convener Chang Shan-chwen (張上淳) said.
Among the 27 new cases, 24 had returned to Taiwan between March 6 and Wednesday from Austria, Belgium, Canada, Egypt, France, Germany, Japan, Luxembourg, Mexico, the Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, the Philippines, Singapore, Spain, Turkey, the UK and the US, the center said, adding that eight of them had traveled to more than one country.
The 24 people — all of whom are Taiwanese except for one American man in his 40s — break down into 15 women and nine men, with the youngest being a teenager and the oldest over 80, center data showed.
Although age is one factor affecting a person’s likelihood of contracting COVID-19, there are other factors such as personal immunity and contact history, Chang said, when asked if the hypothesis that elderly people are more likely to contract the coronavirus should be re-examined.
The remaining three cases — two women and one man — were infected locally and are the 124th, 130th and 134th cases.
The 124th case, a man in his 30s, did not travel abroad recently, but had contact with his company supervisor, who exhibited symptoms after returning from the US last week, the center said.
Two of his foreign colleagues also exhibited symptoms earlier this week and health authorities are monitoring their status, the center added.
The 130th case, a female teenager, is a classmate of the 59th and the 103rd cases in a senior-high school in northern Taiwan, it said.
The school suspended all classes from yesterday through Friday next week, the Ministry of Education has said.
The 134th case did not travel abroad recently, and relatives in the same house have so far not shown symptoms, the center said, adding that it would investigate who she came into contact with at work to clarify the source of her infection.
The level 3 advisory, which previously had been applied to 101 countries and territories, covering virtually all of Europe and Asia, has been extended to reflect the global spread of the coronavirus, including Latin America, Africa and Oceania, the center said.
The center had already mandated a 14-day home quarantine for all travelers arriving in Taiwan and a ban on the entry of foreign nationals, with some exceptions, under tightened border controls that took effect on Thursday, minimizing the effects of the new advisories.
According to CECC regulations, travelers who make unnecessary trips to an area under a level 3 advisory may not apply for the government’s NT$1,000 daily home quarantine subsidy.
Additional reporting by CNA
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