The Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) yesterday reported eight imported cases of COVID-19, including a mother and a three-year-old child who returned from the US, the nation’s youngest confirmed case.
Centers for Disease Control (CDC) Deputy Director-General Philip Lo (羅一鈞), deputy head of the CECC’s medical response division, said the woman is a Taiwanese in her 30s, who lives in the US and returned to Taiwan with her child on Sunday last week.
They had provided negative polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test results issued within 72 hours of their flight, and stayed at home for mandatory quarantine after arrival, he said.
Photo: David Chang, EPA-EFE
After the woman began sneezing, had an itchy throat and experienced loss of smell on Wednesday, they were tested on Friday, when the child also had a fever, Lo said, adding that the results came back positive.
“We are still uncertain of the source of infection, but we have two possible clues so far,” Lo said.
One is that the child’s father had reported experiencing a headache after taking them to the airport, he said.
The other clue is that while in the US, the child had played in an airport playground, so the child might have been directly infected by other children or indirectly by interacting with contaminated items, he said.
In the two previously confirmed COVID-19 cases in children under the age of five, the children only experienced mild symptoms, while the three-year-old has only had a fever so far, Lo said, adding that the risk of children with COVID-19 developing serious complications is much lower than in adults.
Meanwhile, three imported cases are female migrant workers in their 20s and 30s who arrived from Indonesia on Nov. 27, he said.
They all tested negative in a special expanded testing project on Nov. 28, but later tested positive after their quarantine ended on Thursday, he said.
Their cycle threshold values from the PCR tests were between 34 and 35.6, indicating that they might have been infected for a longer period of time, as low viral loads sometimes test positive and sometimes negative, Lo said.
One imported case is a Taiwanese in her 40s, who went to the UK for work in July and returned with two family members on Nov. 27, he said.
She began experiencing general muscle fatigue, joint pain and dizziness on Friday last week, but tested negative after reporting a fever on Sunday last week, he said.
As her symptoms continued, she was hospitalized on Wednesday and tested positive yesterday, he said.
Another case is a Taiwanese in her 20s, who went to the US to study in August last year, and returned on Wednesday last week, Lo said.
She began experiencing throat discomfort on Friday last week, and on Tuesday reported that she had nasal congestion, a runny nose, and loss of smell and taste, he said, adding that she was tested on Wednesday and her results came back positive yesterday.
Another case is an Indonesian woman in her 20s, who arrived with five companions on Nov. 25 on a business trip, he said.
She had provided a negative PCR test result before boarding her flight, but tested positive in a paid test on Thursday, while her five companions tested negative, but were still put under quarantine, he said.
Lo was asked to give advice to people who are considering traveling to Singapore, after the country announced that from Friday next week it would allow travelers from Taiwan who test negative upon arrival to be exempted from home isolation.
Lo said the center still suggests that people take precautions, including wearing a mask, practicing social distancing, measuring body temperatures every day and avoiding crowded venues, as Singapore is still reporting sporadic locally transmitted cases.
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