None of the people tested so far as contacts of an aircrew cluster have COVID-19, the Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) said yesterday, after more than 1.1 million text messages had been sent to alert those who had been to places visited by the cluster’s confirmed cases.
Minister of Health and Welfare Chen Shih-chung (陳時中), who heads the center, said the negative results were “a slight relief, but people should not let their guard down and should keep practicing COVID-19 preventive measures.”
The CECC on Friday reported imported breakthrough infections in two Eva Airways Corp (長榮航空) cargo pilots, who had been vaccinated against COVID-19.
Photo courtesy of the Central Epidemic Command Center
They flew together on flights to and from Australia on Monday last week, it said.
As the teenage son of one of the pilots also tested positive on Friday, the center ordered his school to suspend all classes for two weeks, and placed his classmates and their close contacts under centralized quarantine with mandatory testing.
The tightened measures were necessary because the pilots and the teenager are suspected to be infected with the Delta variant of SARS-CoV-2, Chen said on Friday.
Photo courtesy of Taoyuan City Government via CNA
Among the pilots’ close contacts, 299 people were ordered to quarantine in centralized facilities, and 23 people were asked to monitor their health, Chen said, adding that the teenager was so far the only confirmed case connected to the pilots.
Among the contacts, 165 people tested negative, 22 were awaiting their test results, and 134 were to be tested, he added.
Two-hundred-and-five close contacts of the teenager were ordered to quarantine in centralized facilities, with 200 of them having tested negative and five still to be tested, he said.
Chen said that 2,656 students and staff at the teenager’s school had so far been tested, and none of their test results were positive.
Meanwhile, more than 1.1 million warning text messages were yesterday afternoon sent to people who had been to places visited by the confirmed cluster cases between Aug. 13 and Thursday, asking recipients whether they had since had any suspicious symptoms, Chen said.
Those who had or are having symptoms should seek medical attention or get tested at a local COVID-19 screening center as soon as possible, he said, urging them to wear a mask at all times.
Recipients of the alert messages should not be worried, as they have visited the same places as the cluster cases at the same time, but might not have had direct contact with them, Chen said.
As all but one of their more recent contacts tested negative, Chen said that those who earlier had direct contact with the cases are unlikely to have been infected by them.
However, despite everyone at the teenager’s school testing negative, there is still a risk of asymptomatic infections that are more difficult to detect, Chen said, urging people to remain vigilant.
Enhanced COVID-19 restrictions implemented in Taoyuan are necessary as long as it cannot be ruled out that the cluster has spread to local communities, Chen said, adding that a nationwide level 2 COVID-19 alert would not be raised in the city.
Asked whether the cluster might affect the CECC’s plan to ease some COVID-19 curbs on Tuesday, including raising passenger capacity on trains and allowing showering in sports venues, Chen said that there is no need to alter the plan, but added that the center would continue to monitor the situation.
The CECC yesterday reported no new local cases and one imported case: a traveler arriving from the US.
Taiwan’s first-dose COVID-19 vaccination coverage on Friday reached 43.77 percent, the center said.
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