Two imported cases of COVID-19 were confirmed yesterday in Taiwanese returning from France and the United Arab Emirates (UAE), bringing the total number of confirmed cases to 529, the Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) said.
The two women, both in their 20s, only developed symptoms during mandatory quarantine following their return to Taiwan, said the CECC’s spokesman, Centers for Disease Control (CDC) Deputy Director-General Chuang Jen-hsiang (莊人祥).
Case No. 528 left for France in January to study and returned on Sunday last week on a flight with a friend, he said.
She developed a runny nose and itchy throat on Wednesday and a local health department arranged for her to see a doctor on Friday, he said.
Her friend, who had been quarantined at the same location, has been placed under home isolation, he said.
Case No. 529, a flight attendant, also left Taiwan in January and had been working in Dubai and elsewhere, returning home on Sept. 30 for a vacation, he said.
On Saturday, she reported losing her sense of smell.
As no one had been in close contact with her during the two days prior to the onset of her symptom, the local health department did not list any close contacts for quarantine.
Asked by reporters if she had followed the CECC’s regulations for Taiwanese airlines’ flight attendants, which require them to wear full personal protective equipment on duty, Chuang said that as she works for a non-Taiwanese airline, she is not bound by the regulations, and that she was placed under 14-day home quarantine like any other returning citizen or resident.
She might have picked up the virus on her return flight or in another country, he said.
Taiwanese airline flight attendants are required to wear goggles, protective clothing, a mask and gloves while on duty, follow quarantine rules for long flights and entry, practice home quarantine for five days and additional self-health management after returning to Taiwan, CECC community disease prevention division official Yang Ching-hui (楊靖慧) told reporters.
The CECC was also asked why the Vienna Philharmonic orchestra’s application to perform in Taiwan was rejected, as the Ministry of Culture announced last week.
All artists and performers who wish to perform in Taiwan are reviewed on a case-by-case basis, according to the policy allowing shortened quarantine periods for short-term business travelers, Chuang said.
However, given the large number of people in the orchestra’s tour group, the quarantine period it applied for was relatively short, and its proposed itinerary in Taiwan was complicated, so the center told the ministry that it would be very difficult to thoroughly implement disease-prevention measures, he said.
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