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Homeland Security

Taiwan reports eight new COVID-19 cases; total rises to 108

ROC Central News Agency

03/19/2020 05:03 PM

Taipei, March 19 (CNA) Eight new COVID-19 cases were confirmed in Taiwan on Thursday, bringing the total number in the country to 108, the Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) said.

Seven of the cases are believed to have been contracted overseas, while one of them is the classmate of a high school student who was diagnosed with the virus last week, CECC head and Health Minister Chen Shih-chung (陳時中) said in his daily press briefing.

With two students at the high school in northern Taiwan now confirmed to have COVID-19, the school will be closed March 20-27 in an effort to prevent further spread of the virus, Chen said.

When the first high school student was diagnosed on March 15, all of his classmates were immediately put into home quarantine, which is why the school will be closed for one week instead of two, according to the CECC.

In the new case at the school, the student developed an itchy throat and a fever on March 15 and went to the hospital the day after, where he was placed in an isolation room, Chen said, adding that the student tested positive for COVID-19 on Thursday.

Among the seven imported cases, three of them had traveled abroad recently with tour groups, Chen said.

One of them, a man in his 70s, was with a tour group that now has five infections after a trip to Egypt from March 3 to 12, according to Chen. A relative of one of those patients has also tested positive for COVID-19, he said.

Two of the new imported infections were likely contracted during a tour of Austria and the Czech Republic from March 5 to 14 with a group in which two others recently tested positive for COVID-19, according to Chen.

He said health authorities are monitoring 59 people believed to have had contact with the four patients in that group.

Three of the other new cases are people who also traveled recently to other countries, namely the United States, France, Spain, while one is a French national who arrived in Taiwan on March 15 to visit relatives, the CECC said.

Those four patients had all been in home quarantine before they were diagnosed, and health authorities are now trying to track the other passengers who were on the flights the four people took, the CECC said.

As of Thursday, 78 of the 108 confirmed cases in Taiwan had been classified as imported, and only three of the 55 infections reported in the past five days are believed to have been contracted locally, according to the CECC.

Globally, the number of COVID-19 cases has climbed to 210,417, with at least 8,811 deaths, across 149 countries/territories, according to the CECC.

In Taiwan, 26 of the 108 coronavirus patients have been released from hospital quarantine, while one patient has died, and the others are still in negative pressure hospital quarantine rooms in relatively stable condition, the CECC reported Thursday.

(By Chang Ming-hsuan, Wu Hsin-yun, Chen Chih-chung, Chen Yi-hsuan, and Joseph Yeh)


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