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Taiwan confirms 3 new cases of COVID-19 in Navy cluster infection

ROC Central News Agency

04/21/2020 05:14 PM

Taipei, April 21 (CNA) Three new cases of the COVID-19 coronavirus disease from a recent cluster infection aboard a Taiwan naval ship were confirmed in Taiwan on Tuesday, bringing the total of infections to 425 in the country since the pandemic began late last year, according to the Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC).

The three new patients are believed to be part of a cluster infection from the "Panshi" fast combat support ship that was part of a three-ship flotilla that visited Palau from March 12-15, and returned to their naval base in the port of Zuoying in Kaohsiung on April 9, said Health Minister Chen Shih-chung (陳時中), who also heads the CECC, at a daily press briefing.

In one of the new cases, a male military cadet in his 20s who had shared a cabin on the Panshi with two earlier cases, started developing symptoms on March 30, the CECC said in a statement.

His first test on April 18 showed negative, but a second test on April 20 confirmed the results as positive, the CECC said.

Another case was that of a female in her 30s who displayed symptoms from April 5, the CECC said.

She also tested negative on her initial test on April 18, but tested positive in a second test April 20, the CECC said.

The remaining case was that of a male in his 20s, the CECC said.

He also tested negative on his first test on April 18, but tested positive Tuesday, the CECC added.

CECC advisor Chang Shan-chwen (張上淳) said that the virus is easier for tests to pick up the first week the patient begins to show symptoms, because their viral load is higher, Chang said.

But the patients were only tested after they spent around two or three weeks on the ship, so it took more than one test to pick up the virus, Chang added.

As of Tuesday, 27 of 744 military personnel returning from the goodwill mission to Taiwan's diplomatic ally Palau had been confirmed as having COVID-19, the first cases of the disease to hit Taiwan's military.

Taiwan currently has a total of 425 COVID-19 infections, of which 343 have been classified as imported, 55 as local infections, and the 27 from the "Panshi" are still under investigation to be determined if the source of infection was imported or domestic, according to the CECC.

To date, 217 COVID-19 patients in Taiwan have been categorized as recovered, six have died, while the others are still hospitalized, the CECC said.

Globally, COVID-19 has infected 2,483,792 patients in 184 countries and regions, including 784,326 in the U.S., 200,210 in Spain, 181,228 in Italy, 178,774 in France and 141,672 in Germany, with a total of 169,253 fatalities, according to CECC statistics as of Tuesday.

(By William Yen)

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