The Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) yesterday reported five new cases of COVID-19 infection, two of which were domestic and associated with a cluster of infections at a preschool in New Taipei City’s Banciao District (板橋).
Minister of Health and Welfare Chen Shih-chung (陳時中), who heads the center, said the two local cases were reported in New Taipei City and linked to the cluster of infections of the Delta variant of SARS-CoV-2.
The two cases are a preschool student and her father, who had both been in isolation since Monday last week after the first case in the cluster was confirmed, Chen said.
Photo courtesy of the Central Epidemic Command Center
The father began running a fever on Sunday, so they were retested for COVID-19, with the results coming back positive, he said.
“The two tested positive during isolation, so the virus did not spread farther into the local community and can still be considered under control,” Chen said.
Centers for Disease Control (CDC) Deputy Director-General Philip Lo (羅一鈞), deputy head of the CECC’s medical response division, said the genome sequencing results on virus samples from a construction worker and his wife, who were also infected with the Delta variant, showed that the sequences are the same as the preschool cluster.
The construction worker had visited a residential building in Banciao District, where six cases linked to the preschool cluster resided, six times between the middle of last month and Wednesday last week.
The worker and his wife were confirmed to have COVID-19 on Friday last week.
The genome sequencing results imply that the couple are linked to the preschool cluster, Lo said
However, the sequence from the cluster does not match any sequence of the Delta variant from previous imported or local cases, so the CECC still does not know where this particular strain of the Delta variant came from, he said.
As of yesterday, the preschool cluster had expanded to 32 confirmed cases, including 21 infected with the Delta variant.
Of the 3,537 people who might have had contact with the cluster, 2,633 people are under home isolation, 892 are practicing self-health management and 12 are practicing self-health monitoring, Chen said.
The three imported cases were from Cambodia, Indonesia and the US, and no deaths were reported by the CECC yesterday.
With the level 2 COVID-19 alert due to expire on Tuesday next week, Chen said that the few cases and clusters of concern seem to have been brought under control, and considering people’s lifestyle and economic needs, the CECC is discussing the possibility of further easing restrictions.
Chen also thanked Japan after it yesterday announced its intention to donate another 500,000 doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine to Taiwan.
The donation would help Taiwan offer more second doses to those who had received the AstraZeneca vaccine, he said.
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