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Homeland Security

Taiwan COVID-19 cases rise to 195 with 26 new infections (update)

ROC Central News Agency

03/23/2020 04:36 PM

Taipei, March 23 (CNA) Taiwan confirmed 26 new cases of COVID-19 coronavirus Monday, bringing its total number to 195, the Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) said.

Among the new patients, only one is believed to have been infected locally, while the others are deemed to have contracted the virus overseas, said Health Minister Chen Shih-chung (陳時中), who heads the CECC.

The local infection occurred in a woman in her 30s, who is believed to have caught the virus from her boyfriend, Chen said, adding that the couple lives together.

She is the fifth confirmed case in a cluster of infections at Academia Sinica, Taiwan's top research institute, according to the CECC.

In that cluster of five, a professor in his 50s who was in the United States on a business trip March 1-10, was identified as the source, the CECC said.

The three other people in the cluster are students who were in a recent meeting with the professor, the CECC said.

Meanwhile, the 25 imported cases confirmed Monday are all Taiwanese citizens -- 13 females and 12 males -- with the youngest being a four-year-old boy and oldest a woman in her 70s, the CECC said.

Their travel history includes recent trips to the U.S., Spain, the Netherlands, France, Switzerland and the United Kingdom, the CECC said.

As of Monday, 158 of the 195 confirmed cases in Taiwan had been classified as imported, Chen said, adding that many Taiwanese working and traveling overseas have been returning home due to a sharp rise in COVID-19 cases in other countries.

With this influx of returning Taiwanese expected to continue over the next two weeks, initial health screenings on arrival at airports and home quarantine are the "first line of defense," he said.

Failure to comply with Taiwan's current regulations, which require arrivals to provide accurate information about their travel history and health condition, may result in a maximum fine of NT$150,000 (US$4,897), Chen warned.

Inbound travelers are advised not take antipyretics before arrival to hide a fever, he added.

Currently, 29 of the 195 coronavirus patients in Taiwan have been released from quarantine, while two have died. The others are still in negative pressure rooms in hospitals but are all in a relatively stable condition, according to the CECC.

Globally, over 329,597 COVID-19 cases and at least 14,484 deaths had been reported in 167 countries/territories worldwide, as of Monday, according to the CECC.


(By Chen Wei-ting and Joseph Yeh)


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