The Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) yesterday reported a case of a Taiwanese who tested positive for COVID-19 after arriving in Shanghai.
Centers for Disease Control (CDC) Deputy Director-General Chuang Jen-hsiang (莊人祥), who is also the CECC spokesman, said that the case is a woman in her 70s who lives alone in southern Taiwan and had been in Taiwan since November last year.
After arriving in Shanghai on Aug. 15 and testing negative for COVID-19, the woman was quarantined in a hotel, Chuang said.
On Friday last week, she developed a sore throat, so she was tested again, he said, adding that after the results came out positive on Saturday, she was isolated for treatment.
Chinese authorities on Monday informed the CECC, and the woman’s friends in Taiwan also informed the center about having had contact with the woman before she left for Shanghai, he said.
Thirty-three family members and friends have so far been identified, he said, adding that polymerase chain reaction tests of 14 people were negative, while the other tests are still being evaluated.
The woman told authorities that she stayed at home from Aug. 7 to Aug. 10, but that she had several meals with friends in the few days before departing for China, Chuang said.
Although the woman had been in Shanghai for a few days before the onset of her symptoms — so she probably did not infect others in Taiwan — the center would conduct contact tracing to verify whether she transmitted her infection and to clarify its source, he said.
Regarding a case of a Taiwanese boy who arrived in Shanghai on Aug. 14 and tested positive on Aug. 17, Chuang said that the boy had a fever on Aug. 15 and was tested every day from Aug. 15 to Aug. 19, but only the test on Aug. 17 came out positive.
On Friday last week, the boy was released from isolation and discharged from the hospital yesterday, he added.
Minister of Health and Welfare Chen Shih-chung (陳時中), who heads the CECC, said on the sidelines of an award ceremony at the ministry yesterday that COVID-19 could become seasonal, like the flu, when asked to comment on a person in Hong Kong on Monday being the first case of COVID-19 reinfection.
Hong Kong researchers on Monday reported that a 33-year-old man, who was confirmed to have COVID-19 in late March and tested negative by mid-April, tested positive again after returning to Hong Kong from a visit to Europe, and that genome testing suggested that he had become infected with a different strain of the virus.
He had mentioned before that academics are arguing over whether COVID-19 might become more like SARS, with a higher mortality rate, or more like the seasonal flu, which has co-existed with humans for a long time, Chen said, adding that the Hong Kong case seems to indicate that it might be more like the flu.
If that is the case, Taiwan has a lot of experience fighting the seasonal flu, and the CECC would run simulations and make proper preparations, he added.
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