The Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) yesterday reported one locally transmitted COVID-19 case, while viral genome sequencing has suggested a link between China Airlines (華航) pilots, their family members and workers at a quarantine hotel who contracted the virus.
Since April 20, 10 China Airlines cargo pilots have tested positive for COVID-19, including one in Australia. The sources of infection have not been established.
As of Friday, two family members of infected pilots, three family members of pilots who tested positive for COVID-19 antibodies and four Novotel Taipei Taoyuan International Airport hotel workers tested positive for the virus. Many of the airline’s crew members quarantined at the hotel after returning to Taiwan.
Minister of Health and Welfare Chen Shih-chung (陳時中), who heads the center, said that the new local case is a five-year-old boy — the son of an infected pilot.
“The pilot [case No. 1,102] usually stayed at Novotel for quarantine, but because of a sudden change in his flight schedule, he stayed at home for quarantine after the last flight he flew” before testing positive, he said.
The boy was placed under home isolation on Sunday last week, as soon as his father tested positive, Chen said, adding that he was tested after experiencing a fever on Thursday.
Two other family members have been placed under home isolation until May 15, he added.
All Novotel workers and guests were moved to centralized quarantine facilities and tested on Thursday, after a hotel staff member — case No. 1,120 — tested positive for COVID-19.
In total, only four of the hotel’s 207 workers have tested positive for the virus, while only case No. 1,120 tested positive for antibodies, Chen said.
Centers for Disease Control Deputy Director-General Philip Lo (羅一鈞), deputy chief of the CECC’s medical response division, said that only case No. 1,120 tested positive in both the polymerase chain reaction and antibody tests, indicating that among the hotel’s staff members, case No. 1,120 contracted the disease first.
“Among seven cases in which we have completed viral genome sequencing, the latest case — case No. 1,120 — was found to be infected with the same strain as five previous cases” — four pilots and a pilot’s family member, Lo said. “They were infected with the UK variant B.1.1.7 and shared the same viral sequence.”
“We can infer that there might have been cross infection between the pilots and the hotel staff members,” he said.
Lo said three of the four infected pilots had stayed at Novotel, and the onset of their symptoms was close to that of case No. 1,120, whose work area covered the rooms in which the pilots had stayed.
“Further investigations are needed to clarify how the virus was transmitted among them or how they were exposed to each other, but ... the evidence suggests that there may have been an infection chain among them,” he said.
Lo said that the pilots did not stay in rooms near each other, and the air-conditioning in their rooms was not connected.
Experts have inspected the hotel and the center believes they were not infected through the air-conditioning system, he said.
The CECC also reported three imported cases, a Filipino fisherman, a Taiwanese who returned from Indonesia and a Taiwanese who returned from the Philippines.
HIGH-RISK GROUP: After the latest outbreak, family members of workers exposed to infection would from tomorrow be eligible for government-funded vaccines The Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) yesterday reported four local COVID-19 cases: three family members of an infected worker at a quarantine hotel and a family member of an infected pilot. The new cases bring the number of infections involving China Airlines Ltd (中華航空) pilots and the Novotel Taipei Taoyuan International Airport hotel, where many of the airline’s crew members quarantined, to 24. Minister of Health and Welfare Chen Shih-chung (陳時中), who heads the center, said three of them are the husband, son and daughter of case No. 1,129, a woman in her 60s, who works at the hotel. The son is in
NEXT STEP? The contract chipmaker said it would decide whether to add more plants based on operation efficiency, cost economics and demand Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co (TSMC, 台積電) is planning to build several more chipmaking fabs in the US state of Arizona beyond the one already planned, three people familiar with the matter said. TSMC, the world’s largest contract chipmaker, announced in May last year that it would build a US$12 billion fab in Arizona. The 12-inch wafer fab in Phoenix is expected to start mass production in 2024, the Investment Commission said in December, when it approved the plan. Three sources familiar with the matter, speaking on condition of anonymity as they were not authorized to speak to the media, said that up
VIRUS CURBS: Visiting people staying at healthcare and long-term care facilities in Taipei, New Taipei City and Taoyuan is banned until May 17, the CECC announced The Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) yesterday banned visits to patients or residents at healthcare and long-term care facilities in three cities until May 17. It also reported six imported cases of COVID-19 and two cases with unclear infection sources. As the number of locally transmitted cases rises, some of whom have visited many places in Taipei, New Taipei City and Taoyuan, enhanced disease prevention measures have to be implemented in the three cities, said Minister of Health and Welfare Chen Shih-chung (陳時中), who heads the center. “Visiting people staying at healthcare and long-term care facilities in Taipei, New Taipei City and
UP TO TWO DAYS: Minister of Health and Welfare Chen Shih-chung said that most who got the shot and felt discomfort only felt ill for the first two days Employees can ask for unpaid COVID-19 vaccination leave, from the day of their shot until the end of the next day, the Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) announced yesterday, adding that the policy takes effect immediately. “The policy of unpaid COVID-19 vaccination leave will be implemented starting on May 5, and all workers and civil servants will be eligible,” Minister of Health and Welfare Chen Shih-chung (陳時中), who heads the center, told a news conference. Leave can be taken on the day of vaccination and if recipients feel discomfort after getting the shot, they can extend the leave to all of the