The Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) yesterday reiterated its COVID-19 testing policy amid concerns that not enough was being done after a Japanese student who last week returned home from Taiwan was confirmed to have the disease.
Taiwan on Tuesday received notice from Japanese authorities of a confirmed case of COVID-19, a female student in her 20s who had returned to Japan from Taiwan and was asymptomatic, the CECC said on Wednesday.
The student traveled to Taiwan in late February and had been studying in southern Taiwan, it said.
Photo: Lin Hui-chin, Taipei Times
She returned to Japan on Saturday last week and tested positive upon her arrival there, it said.
Japanese authorities yesterday morning told the center that the woman’s cycle threshold was 37.38, which in Taiwan would be considered a “weak positive,” Centers for Disease Control Deputy Director-General Chuang Jen-hsiang (莊人祥), spokesman for the center, told a news conference in Taipei.
Japanese authorities and the center believe that the case was unlikely to have been contagious at the time of testing, Chuang said.
As the student showed no symptoms, it is difficult to know when she was infected, he said.
The center could not rule out the possibility that the student was infected in Taiwan, he said.
The center’s policy is that if an individual is displaying symptoms and suspected of having the virus by a doctor, they can be tested, he said.
For every confirmed case of COVID-19, the center usually tests an additional 160 to 170 people, he said, adding that this level of testing was deemed to be extra cautious.
The center on Wednesday said that it identified 140 people who had been in contact with the Japanese student, including 125 people who had been placed in home isolation and 15 who have been asked to self-manage their health.
The center yesterday revised the number of people ordered into home isolation to 123.
All 123 had been tested for COVID-19 as of last night, it said.
Negative results for 109 of the 123 had been received as of press time last night.
The results for the remainder would be released today, Chuang said.
Meanwhile, the center reported one new imported case.
The patient — the nation’s 447th case — is a man in his 60s who traveled to Guatemala in early April for business, Chuang said.
On June 1, he developed symptoms including coughing, shortness of breath and aching bones, Chuang said.
The man sought medical advice in Guatemala, but twice tested negative for the novel coronavirus, Chuang said.
On Tuesday, the man’s symptom of breathlessness worsened, Chuang said, adding that upon his arrival in Taiwan on Wednesday, he reported his situation to authorities at the airport and was retested.
He was sent to a quarantine facility and did not come into contact with family members or friends in Taiwan, Chuang said.
Ten passengers sat in the two rows in front of and behind the man and they have been ordered to isolate at home, he said.
Additional reporting by Lin Hui-chin
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