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Homeland Security

No spread of infection by COVID-19-positive Japanese student: CECC

ROC Central News Agency

06/26/2020 05:14 PM

Taipei, June 26 (CNA) Over 100 people who came in contact with a Japanese student in Taiwan later confirmed to have COVID-19 have all tested negative for the disease, according to the Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) Friday.

The Japanese woman, who is in her 20s, had been studying at a university in southern Taiwan since February before testing positive for COVID-19 in a PCR test, announced by Japan on June 22, after she returned to Japan on June 20.

A total of 125 people have been identified as having come into close contact with the woman recently, of which two are currently overseas, the CECC said.

All 123 of the contacts currently in Taiwan were tested for COVID-19, and 109 of the tests came back negative on Thursday and the other 14 came back negative on Friday, the CECC said.

The positive test of the Japanese student raised concerns in Taiwan over whether there were still undetected COVID-19 cases in local communities. Taiwan has not officially recorded a local transmission of a COVID-19 case since April 12.

CECC spokesman Chuang Jen-hsiang (莊人祥) was asked at a press conference if Taiwan could still be considered safe after the latest finding, and he said follow-up tests suggested that was the case.

"The patient did not frequent KTVs or dance clubs. She only met up with friends for meals, and if the friends who had close contact with her are negative then it would be pretty much impossible for other people to be infected," Chuang said.

Chuang also suggested the infection may not have been recent, that the woman might have been infected for at least one or two months or perhaps even longer because of her higher CT value.

Her CT (cycle threshold) level of 37-38 is considered a "weak positive," according to Chuang, and he said it is believed that those with a CT value of over 32 are unlikely to be contagious.

To make sure all 123 of the contacts, which include classmates and teachers, have not been infected, they will undergo antibody testing starting next week, Chuang said.

If anyone tests positive for COVID-19 antibodies, further investigations will follow to see if any community transmissions have happened, Chuang said.

Excluding the latest case, Taiwan has recorded a total of 446 COVID-19 cases, of which it has classified 355 as imported, 55 as locally acquired and 36 as a cluster infection on board a naval ship, which was later confirmed to have originated in Taiwan.

(By William Yen)

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