The Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) yesterday reported 46 local and 46 imported cases of COVID-19, and said that genome sequencing found 10 local transmission chains of the Omicron variant of SARS-CoV-2.
The imported cases are 25 travelers who tested positive upon arrival at Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport, and 21 people who tested positive during quarantine, said Minister of Health and Welfare Chen Shih-chung (陳時中), who heads the center.
The domestic infections include 14 cases linked to the Farglory Free Trade Zone (遠雄自由貿易園區) cluster in Taoyuan, 12 cases linked to a Port of Kaohsiung cluster, two cases linked to an Yilan County hotel cluster and a case linked to a Taipei family cluster, Chen said.
They also include 15 cases in Taoyuan that are mostly linked to previous infections, and two new cases at Far Eastern Memorial Hospital in New Taipei City’s Banciao District (板橋), he said, adding that a total of 29 cases were confirmed in Taoyuan.
A second round of tests was conducted at Farglory Free Trade Zone — where more than 100 cases have been reported — with 14 people testing positive, including nine who were already in isolation, he said.
As workers in other areas of the free-trade zone all tested negative on Monday, but several new cases were still detected in a second round of tests on Tuesday among workers in two buildings where employees who had COVID-19 work, Askey Computer Corp’s (亞旭) factory is to remain closed, he said.
Other companies in the two buildings may gradually resume operations under the supervision of the CECC’s on-site command center, he added.
The 15 cases linked to the Kaohsiung Harbor cluster are mostly family members of previously reported cases, while the two cases linked to the Yilan hotel cluster are two friends who had a meal with an infected hotel worker, Chen said.
A case linked to a Taipei family cluster is a customer who ate at the same restaurant at about the same time as an infected friend of the family, he added.
The 15 cases in Taoyuan include one with no clear source of infection; three who had dined at a restaurant at about the same time as an infected case; two others who were at a restaurant visited by another infected person; and five family members, two classmates and two family members of a classmate of three previous cases.
The two new cases at Far Eastern Memorial Hospital are a hospitalized patient and her son, but they did not have any contact with a nurse who had earlier tested positive, so their source of infection is unclear, Chen said.
Asked if dining-in would be banned, as several of the new cases were not close contacts of previous cases, but had only dined at the same restaurant at about the same time, Chen said cluster infections could also occur at workplaces, not only at restaurants.
The Omicron variant is highly transmissible, so closing all venues where people might gather might no longer be practical, as it would affect many livelihoods, he said.
Dining-in would not be banned, but high-risk venues where cluster infections have been reported would be asked to temporarily suspend operations to identify contacts for testing and isolation, he added.
Centers for Disease Control (CDC) Deputy Director-General Philip Lo (羅一鈞), deputy head of the CECC’s medical response division, said that genome sequencing results showed 10 local transmission chains of the Omicron variant among domestic cases.
The 10 are the Taoyuan airport janitor cluster, the Port of Kaohsiung cluster, three hospitals (nurses at Far Eastern Memorial Hospital and two Taipei City Hospital branches), two airport disease prevention taxi drivers, an airport disease prevention staffer, the Yilan hotel cluster and the Taipei family cluster, he said.
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