The Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) yesterday reported 13 local COVID-19 infections and issued a level 3 travel alert for Palau.
The new cases are four linked to a cluster infection at Kaohsiung Harbor, two linked to a cluster at Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport, one linked to a hotel cluster in Yilan County, one linked to a family cluster in Taipei, one linked to a restaurant cluster in Taoyuan and one linked to an imported case, as well as three infections with unclear sources, said Minister of Health and Welfare Chen Shih-chung (陳時中), who heads the center.
The new cases linked to the Kaohsiung cluster are family members and contacts of previous cases, Chen said.
Photo courtesy of the Centers for Disease Control
No new cases were found after COVID-19 tests were conducted on Monday on 2,619 workers at Taoyuan’s Farglory Free Trade Zone (遠雄自由貿易港區), where 102 cases have been confirmed, he said.
However, some workers have not been tested, Chen said, adding that a second round was to be conducted yesterday on personnel at the two firms with the most cases.
One of the new cases is the grandmother of a child who tested positive after arriving in Taiwan, he said, adding that the grandmother had cared for the child during the latter’s isolation period.
The three new cases with unclear infection sources are two sisters who attend a preschool in Taoyuan, and a 58-year-old man who lives in Taoyuan’s Longtan District (龍潭) and had recently traveled to Hsinchu, Chen said.
They tested positive after seeking medical attention at healthcare facilities, he added.
Compared with the global COVID-19 situation, the daily case numbers in Taiwan are relatively low, and although there are a few sporadic cases with unclear infection sources, contact tracing is clarifying transmission chains and helping people feel safer as the Lunar New Year holiday approaches, Chen said.
The local COVID-19 situation is under observation and would be carefully monitored until at least Feb. 7, he said.
As many people might be concerned, the center would announce a set of COVID-19 prevention guidelines before the holiday, he said.
Asked whether people entering venues can still type “+” followed by the number of visitors when sending text messages to the center’s 1922 contact registration system after scanning a QR code, Chen said that they can.
However, it would be better if each person scans the QR code with their own device, as they would be contacted directly and immediately if a confirmed case is found to have visited the venue, he said.
Separately, Chen said the daily reported number of COVID-19 infections in Palau has been increasing, with an average of 72 per day in the past seven days.
Two people who arrived in Taiwan from Palau were diagnosed with COVID-19 on Monday, he said.
US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention specialists who have been in Palau have said that the infections were from the Omicron variant of SARS-CoV-2 and that the number of cases might peak in the next couple of weeks, he added.
Due to the increased risk of infection in Palau, the center has raised its travel notice for the country to level 3 — “warning” — the same as rest of the world, Chen said, adding that travelers from Palau must from now on follow the entry and quarantine rules that apply to people arriving from other counties.
The CECC yesterday also reported 25 imported cases: 12 who tested positive at ports upon arrival and 13 who tested positive during quarantine.
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