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Homeland Security

Indonesian migrant worker confirmed COVID-19 case Saturday night

ROC Central News Agency

12/06/2020 02:07 PM

Taipei, Dec. 6 (CNA) A female migrant worker from Indonesia who had stayed in the same dormitory in Taoyuan with 47 other migrant workers, tested positive for COVID-19 Saturday night, prompting the health authorities to put all the dorm tenants under quarantine, according to the Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC).

The CECC's preliminary investigation showed that the woman (case No. 695) is the second confirmed case in the dormitory, where a female migrant worker, also from Indonesia, was confirmed as an imported COVID-19 case (case No. 688) on Friday.

Because the two women only had contact with each other for one day, case No. 695 was determined as imported, the CECC said at a press conference late Saturday.

Case No. 688 arrived in Taiwan on Nov. 13 and entered the mandatory 14-day quarantine, which ended on Nov. 28, according to the CECC.

During the quarantine period, she was tested for COVID-19 and the results came back negative.

She then checked into the worker's dormitory for self-health management after she was released from mandatory quarantine, the CECC said.

For an unknown reason, her employer subsequently arranged for her to be tested for COVID-19 on Dec. 1, with results coming back positive on Friday, the CECC said.

During the time she was in self-health management in the workers' dormitory and before her test results came back, she had come into contact with 47 of her dorm mates, all of whom have now been placed under quarantine.

One of the dorm mates is a Vietnamese worker who had gone missing, Health and Welfare Minister Chen Shih-chung (陳時中), who heads the CECC, told reporters at the ad-hoc news conference Saturday night.

The missing Vietnamese worker was found around 1 a.m. Sunday in Taipei and has been sent to a hospital for tests before undergoing mandatory quarantine, according to the National Immigration Agency.

Among the 47 in quarantine, the latest case (case No. 695), an Indonesian woman, in her 20s, tested positive for COVID-19 , while another migrant worker who tested positive once received a negative test result later and will get tested again, according to Chen.

So far, there have been two confirmed COVID-19 cases (cases No. 688 and No. 695) in the dormitory, Chen said.

He added that as RT-PCR cycle threshold (Ct) values in the two cases are high and the two Indonesian workers had come into contact with each other in a single day, experts have determined case No. 695 as an imported case, instead of a locally-transmitted case.

A high Ct indicates a low concentration of viral genetic material, which is typically associated with a lower risk of infectivity.

According to regulations, individuals are required to practice self-health management for seven days after completing their mandatory quarantine.

Questions have been raised, however, on why the migrant workers were arranged to stay in a workers' dormitory which housed 48 people who share bathrooms during the self-health management period.

Case No. 695 stayed at her workplace dormitory between Nov. 30 and Dec. 4 in Taoyuan and local health authorities have launched an investigation into how many migrant workers are still there and will transfer them to collective quarantine facilities, according to Chen.

(By Chen Wei-ting and Evelyn Kao)


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