The Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) yesterday reported 24 new imported cases of COVID-19 infection, including two in a potential cluster at a Taipei quarantine hotel.
The 24 imported cases — the highest number recorded in a single day this year — are 19 Taiwanese and five foreign nationals who traveled to Taiwan from Canada, France, Japan, Nicaragua, Nigeria, Thailand, the UK, the United Arab Emirates, the US and Vietnam, Minister of Health and Welfare Chen Shih-chung (陳時中), who heads the center, told a daily news briefing.
They all tested positive either upon entry or before completing the mandatory quarantine required for all arrivals, Chen added.
Photo: Yang Yuan-ting, Taipei Times
Two of the people were guests at the same quarantine hotel in Taipei’s Zhongzheng District (中正), and the center is investigating whether their infections are linked to a former guest at the hotel, who tested positive on Tuesday.
That guest was a Taiwanese man who arrived in Taiwan on Dec. 14 and opted to spend the first 10 days of quarantine at a hotel followed by four days at home, the “10+4” quarantine plan.
The man tested positive after feeling unwell while quarantining at home, Taipei Deputy Mayor Vivian Huang (黃珊珊) told a separate news briefing.
As his test results indicated that it was a recent infection, the city started testing other guests at the hotel, with two of them testing positive yesterday, she said.
The three cases are Taiwanese who traveled to Taiwan from China, Japan and the US in the past two weeks, she said, adding that they did not stay in neighboring rooms at the hotel, although their quarantine periods overlapped by four days.
Genome sequencing is being conducted to confirm whether the cases are linked, and the hotel’s employees and guests, current and past, are being tested, Huang said.
The hotel’s guests have been moved to government quarantine centers or other quarantine hotels, she said.
The three cases are likely to have little effect on the general community, as the three people were in quarantine when they tested positive and the family of the man who quarantined at home tested negative, Chen said.
As today marks two years since Taiwan began performing health checks on passengers arriving from Wuhan, China, the center played a short video at the news briefing to thank everyone in the nation for their disease prevention efforts.
Chen urged those who have not been vaccinated to do so as soon as possible, saying that the number of imported cases this month alone reached 387, while other nations are seeing exponential growth of COVID-19 patients due to the Omicron variant of SARS-CoV-2.
“It’s not impossible to see more than 50 imported cases per day,” Chen said.
Additional reporting by Wu Liang-yi
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