The Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) yesterday reported 66 confirmed cases of COVID-19, of which 49 are imported and 17 local infections.
Minister of Health and Welfare Chen Shih-chung (陳時中), who heads the center, said the 49 included 17 inbound travelers on long-haul flights who were tested upon arrival at Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport on Monday, and 32 travelers who were tested during quarantine.
The 17 local cases included four members of a family in Hsinchu City, Chen said.
The first to test positive among the four was the father, a manager in his 40s who learned that a part-time student-employee at the company had been exposed to two confirmed cases of COVID-19 at school, so company-wide testing was conducted, Chen said.
After testing positive in the rapid test, the man — case No. 18,060 — went to a hospital, where he was diagnosed with COVID-19; three members of his family also tested positive, but the source of their infection is not yet clear, he said.
Another six new local cases are five employees at the Union Bank of Taiwan in Taoyuan’s Jhongli District (中壢) — where 13 other employees had tested positive and were linked to a cluster of infections at Taoyuan airport — and a family member.
The five tested positive during isolation at a centralized quarantine facility, and the family member tested positive during home isolation, Chen said.
As of yesterday, a total of 18 bank employees, four family members and a friend had been diagnosed with COVID-19.
Five new local cases were linked to a cluster of infections associated with Tasty steakhouse (西堤牛排) in Jhongli, where the bank workers held a gathering on Jan. 7.
One of the five is a customer who was at the steakhouse on Jan. 7. His two children, who were also at Tasty, had earlier tested positive, but he had tested negative on Thursday last week, but later tested positive during isolation.
Three of the five are a family who visited Tasty on Jan. 9, Chen said, adding that one case is a close contact of another infected diner who was at the restaurant on the same day.
As of yesterday, four Tasty workers, seven customers who visited on Jan. 7, 18 customers who visited on Jan. 9 and nine of their close contacts have been diagnosed with COVID-19.
Another new case is a close contact of an infected member of the Golden Voice Social Club in Taoyuan that infected airport janitors had visited. The man had first tested negative when put in isolation, but tested positive upon ending isolation, Chen said.
Yet another new case — No. 18,020 — is an airport disease prevention taxi driver, who had tested negative several times during the airport test program, but the latest results on Sunday was positive.
The driver’s cycle threshold value from his polymerase chain reaction test dropped from 31.6 on Sunday to 12 the next day, indicating a new infection, Chen said.
Centers for Disease Control Deputy Director-General Philip Lo (羅一鈞), deputy head of the CECC’s medical response division, said a passenger of the taxi driver on Friday last week later tested positive for COVID-19.
Whether the driver contracted the disease from the passenger is not yet clear, and genome sequencing is needed to clarify his infection source, Lo added.
Chen said that the genome sequencing results of a case reported on Sunday — No. 17,928, an airport disease prevention worker — showed that she was infected with a strain of the Omicron variant of SARS-CoV-2 that is different from the airport cluster and is more similar to that found on imported cases from South and Southeast Asian countries, he added.
Chen also reported that as of Monday, the first-dose vaccination rate was 80.77 percent, full vaccination rate was 72.51 percent, additional dose coverage was 0.38 percent and booster dose coverage was 8.55 percent.
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