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Homeland Security

Taiwan reports new COVID-19 case, updates status of Malaysian case

ROC Central News Agency

08/18/2020 05:47 PM

Taipei, Aug. 18 (CNA) The Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) on Tuesday reported a new case of COVID-19 imported from the Philippines and provided updates regarding the test results of contacts of a Malaysian man who was confirmed to have the disease after he had already left Taiwan.

The newly confirmed case is a Taiwanese man in his 60s who works in the Philippines. He last departed Taiwan in January and returned on Aug. 12, CECC spokesperson Chuang Jen-hsiang (莊人祥) said at a press conference.

While in the Philippines, he did not show any symptoms of the disease and tested negative for COVID-19 upon entry to Taiwan, Chuang said.

During quarantine, however, he had an intermittent fever and was tested again on Aug. 15. The results this time came back positive on Tuesday, Chuang said.

The man's wife, who returned to Taiwan with him on the same flight, had a fever on Aug. 2 but tested negative for COVID-19 after she sought medical attention in the Philippines, said Chuang.

Upon entry to Taiwan, she reported her symptoms to airport personnel and was sent into hospital quarantine, where she displayed signs of pneumonia. The results of three COVID-19 tests she took in Taiwan all came back negative, Chuang said.

The CECC has identified 29 people who have had contact with the patient, 11 of whom were crew members on his flight and have been instructed to follow self-health management protocols.

The remaining 18 include the patient's wife and 17 passengers who sat near him on the plane, all of whom are undergoing quarantine.

To date, Taiwan has recorded 486 COVID-19 cases, of which 394 are classified as imported. A total of 450 of the patients have recovered, seven have died, and the others remain in hospital.

At the press conference, Chuang also said that the five contacts of the infected Malaysian man all tested negative for the disease and COVID-19 antibodies.

The man, identified as a 33-year-old Malaysian citizen, entered Taiwan in February and left on Aug. 2, flying to Kuala Lumpur via Hong Kong and tested negative for COVID-19 on arrival in his home country, according to the CECC.

On Aug. 13, however, the man was tested again, a few days before his mandatory quarantine period was due to end, and the test came back positive, prompting the Malaysian Ministry of Health to list the case as being imported from Taiwan, the CECC said.

Chuang said that it is not yet clear where the man was infected, as the man said he seldom went out in Taiwan and his five close contacts, including his wife, have all tested negative.

The CECC will continue to trace any other contacts he might have had in Taiwan, Chuang said.

Also at Tuesday's press conference, Chuang said that an investigation has been launched to determine why local health authorities tested a returning traveler for COVID-19 who had no symptoms of the disease.

The traveler is a Taiwanese teenager who lives in the United States who recently returned to Taiwan and tested positive for COVID-19 during quarantine, despite being asymptomatic.

He was confirmed with the disease on Monday.

"The investigation is aimed at finding out whether other asymptomatic travelers have been tested as well," Chuang said.

Globally, more than 21.8 million people have been infected in 187 countries and regions, with a total of 774,804 fatalities, according to CECC statistics as of Tuesday.

(By Chiang Yi-ching)

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