The Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) yesterday reported a new imported case of COVID-19, a Taiwanese man who returned from the Philippines, as the Ministry of Health and Welfare’s ethics department sought to clarify why a local health bureau conducted coronavirus testing on a teenager last week.
The man is in his 60s and works in the Philippines.
He and his wife traveled to the Philippines in January and returned home on Wednesday last week, said Centers for Disease Control Deputy Director-General Chuang Jen-hsiang (莊人祥), the CECC’s spokesman.
The man’s wife developed a fever on Aug. 2 and sought medical treatment in the Philippines, but tested negative for COVID-19, Chuang said.
The man did not have any symptoms upon arrival in Taiwan, but he and his wife were still tested for COVID-19 at the airport, and were quarantined at a centralized quarantine center and a hospital, he said.
Their airport test results were negative, but the man began experiencing repeated fever on Friday and Saturday, so the quarantine center conducted a second test, which came back positive yesterday, making him the nation’s 486th confirmed COVID-19 case, Chuang said.
As his wife had reported experiencing a fever early this month, the airport quarantine officers had quarantined her at a hospital, where an X-ray showed that she had pneumonia, but three rounds of COVID-19 testing conducted on Thursday, Friday and Saturday all came back negative, Chuang said.
Twenty-nine people who had come into close contact with the man have been identified, including his wife and 16 passengers who sat near him during the flight, he said.
The other passengers have been placed under home isolation, while 11 crew members who were on the plane have been asked to practice self-health management, Chuang said.
Reporters asked why case No. 485, reported on Monday, was tested for COVID-19 even though he did not show any symptoms.
The patient is an asymptomatic teenager who lives in the US and who tested positive during quarantine after arriving for a family visit.
Chuang said that Minister of Health and Welfare Chen Shih-chung (陳時中), who heads the CECC, has instructed the ministry’s Department of Civil Service Ethics to investigate the case to clarify why the teen was tested and to find whether there were others in a similar situation.
The CECC’s policy is to test all inbound travelers who show symptoms or report having had symptoms in the previous 14 days, he said.
The only exception is people arriving from the Philippines, who are tested at the airport placed under a 14-day mandatory home quarantine, Chuang said, but add that they would not be tested for COVID-19 during quarantine if they do not show symptoms.
In related news, the Port and Maritime Bureau yesterday said that foreign mariners can leave Taiwan within three days of entering if they test negative in a polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test conducted upon their arrival.
The policy took effect at 12pm on Monday, the bureau said.
Before the CECC approved the new policy, foreign mariners who entered at a seaport and planned to leave from an airport were first required to quarantine at a disease-prevention hotel for 14 days, bureau Deputy Director-General Chen Pin-chuan (陳賓權) said.
“We proposed the change because there had been instances in Japan and Hong Kong where foreign mariners tested positive after arriving there. Shipping companies also hoped that crewmen’s stay in Taiwan could be shortened to facilitate duty roster changes,” he said.
Chen Pin-chuan said the new policy would apply to all foreign mariners, except those from China, who work on ships registered in Taiwan or other countries as well as those delivering new sea vessels to the nation.
The mariners would be required to undergo a PCR test on the day they arrive, he added.
They would be asked to wait for the test results at a designated quarantine facility rather than a disease-prevention hotel, he said, adding they can leave Taiwan after three days if they test negative.
Additional reporting by Shelley Shan
OVERHAUL NEEDED: The government should improve its agricultural processing capabilities and expand to new markets to limit its reliance on China, an expert said China’s ban on Taiwanese pineapples was “unsurprising,” and Taiwan should have years ago altered its produce export strategies and target customers, experts said. China on Friday abruptly suspended imports of pineapples from Taiwan, saying that it had on multiple occasions discovered “harmful biological entities” on the fruit. Calling it an “unfriendly” move, the Council of Agriculture (COA) said that 99.79 percent of the pineapples sent to China since last year have met China’s import standards. Chiao Chun (焦鈞), the author of Fruits and Politics — A Recollection of Cross-strait Agricultural Interaction Over the Past Decade (水果政治學：兩岸農業交流十年回顧與展望), said that China’s announcement is clearly targeting
The Council of Agriculture yesterday signed a Taiwan-Australia Agricultural Cooperation Implementation clause to open a new export market for the nation’s pineapple crop. The clause is an addition to existing cooperation measures, it said. China on Friday last week abruptly announced that it would suspend pineapple imports from Taiwan starting on Monday, on grounds that it had on multiple occasions discovered “harmful organisms” in shipments of the fruit. The public and private sectors have since joined hands to purchase the local fruit to help the nation’s pineapple farmers. Canberra has requested that all pineapples for export to Australia have their crown buds removed,
DECADES OF INFLUENCE: Over the past 20 years, China has made inroads with Aborigines, funding political campaigns and trips, a legislator said Lawmakers have called on the National Security Bureau to investigate claims of pervasive Chinese influence among Aboriginal communities. Legislators pointed to a surge in communist propaganda and Chinese-funded projects over the past few years, which they say are aimed at infiltrating and buying political influence among Aboriginal communities. “China has for decades carried out wide-ranging ‘united front’ tactics and propaganda campaigns targeting Aborigines,” said Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Legislator Chen Ying (陳瑩), a member of the Puyuma community in Taitung County. “Now, they are influencing elections for local councilors and village chiefs, offering money for candidates to mount their campaigns, and to
DISSATISFACTION? If the referendums collect more than 700,000 signatures each, they would have gotten the most signatures in the shortest time, the party said The Chinese Nationalist Party’s (KMT) two referendum petitions — one on banning the importation of pork with traces of ractopamine and the other on holding referendums on the same day as national elections — had as of Thursday gathered 691,398 and 674,497 signatures respectively, the party said yesterday. If the petitions collect more than 700,000 signatures apiece, they would have garnered the most signatures in the shortest time since the Referendum Act (公民投票法) was amended in 2017, party officials said. The KMT proposed the “anti-ractopamine pork” or “food safety” referendum just days after President Tsai Ing-wen’s (蔡英文) announcement on Aug. 28 last