Kaohsiung yesterday further tightened its COVID-19 restrictions after a local hospital reported a second confirmed infection.
Indoor gatherings of more than five people and outdoor gatherings of more than 10 people have been banned, and all places of worship, including temples, churches and mosques, are to be closed until June 8, Kaohsiung Mayor Chen Chi-mai (陳其邁) said.
Movie theaters would also be closed until Friday next week, Chen said.
Photo: Chang Chung-yi, Taipei Times
The latest measures add to the previous round of controls city officials announced last week that shut down adult entertainment venues, including bars, KTV parlors, night clubs and massage parlors, until Friday next week.
All public facilities, such as sports centers, community centers, libraries, exhibition centers and amusement parks, have also been shut down for the same period.
Yesterday’s announcement came after Renhui Women’s and Children’s Hospital in Fongshan District (鳳山) reported its second confirmed COVID-19 case early in the day following a screening of all of its patients and employees.
The new confirmed case, a nurse, was among the 94 people tested after a hospital administrator tested positive a day earlier, prompting the hospital to move all of its patients to other locations.
The administrator on May 8 visited Taipei’s Wanhua District (萬華), the epicenter of a COVID-19 surge that has gripped Taiwan in the past week, and underwent a COVID-19 test only after having nursed a sore throat for more than a week, the Kaohsiung Department of Health said.
He continued working at the hospital during the period and often visited different floors of the complex, meaning there is a high possibility that he might have infected others, the department said.
Following the test result, the hospital on Monday night called in all 55 of its employees to conduct COVID-19 tests before sending them to quarantine hotels to be quarantined for 14 days, the department added.
All 39 patients hospitalized in the facility have also been screened for COVID-19 and were scheduled to be relocated to 12 other hospitals in the city that have negative pressure isolation wards, it said.
The removal of patients was scheduled to be completed yesterday, after which the hospital complex would be fully disinfected and locked down, the department said.
The hospital would not be reopened until the first half of next month after all of its employees clear their second COVID-19 tests to be conducted on Saturday next week at the conclusion of their two-week quarantine to ensure that they are not infected, it said.
The administrator, a man in his 60s, traveled from Taipei to Kaohsiung’s Fongshan Railway Station by high-speed rail and Taiwan Railways Administration trains, before riding a scooter to his home, the department said.
He stayed at home on May 9 and developed a sore throat the next day.
He visited a nearby clinic on Thursday last week for his sore throat, and rested at home on Saturday and Sunday, it added.
He returned to the hospital on Monday, even though his sore throat persisted, the department said.
Because of the sore throat and his travel history to Wanhua, the hospital tested him for COVID-19 and the result came back positive the same day, it said.
His test had a cycle threshold value of 21, which is relatively low, indicating a recent infection, the department said.
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