A recent COVID-19 cluster outbreak in Beijing did not originate in Taiwan, despite its genetic similarity to a strain here, the Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) said yesterday.
A strain was imported to Taiwan by 13 people who were confirmed to have the novel coronavirus after they took a holiday in Turkey from March 4 to 13, CECC spokesman Chuang Jen-hsiang (莊人祥) said in a video statement.
“It looks like the patients were most likely infected in Turkey and the European strain was then imported to Taiwan,” Chuang said.
When Taiwan discovered the strain, it uploaded its viral sequence to international platforms to share the information, Chuang said.
He made the statement after media reports in Hong Kong quoted experts as saying that the strain in Beijing is similar to ones in Taiwan, the Czech Republic and Europe.
After more than 50 days without a locally transmitted COVID-19 case in Beijing, the city reported one case on June 11, which rose to 183 as of Friday amid a cluster linked to the Xinfadi wholesale market.
Since the start of the pandemic, China has recorded a total of 84,970 cases with 4,645 deaths, according to the WHO.
Taiwan has confirmed 446 cases, with 434 recoveries, seven deaths and five people in hospital quarantine, according to the CECC.
The last time Taiwan recorded a domestic infection was on April 12, according to CECC statistics.
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