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All tests negative in contact tracing of puzzling COVID-19 case: CECC

ROC Central News Agency

12/12/2020 06:19 PM

Taipei, Dec. 12 (CNA) A total of 35 people, identified as contacts of a Taiwanese businessman who fell ill with COVID-19 nearly two weeks after returning from China, have all tested negative for the disease, the Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) said Saturday.

The man, in his 50s, returned to Taiwan from China's Zhejiang Province on Nov. 22 with proof of a negative COVID-19 test issued within three days of his flight, according to the CECC.

On Dec. 4, 12 days after arriving in Taiwan, he began experiencing chills and developed a fever, while in quarantine at a hotel, and he was tested the next day, according to the CECC.

The case was confirmed on Dec. 8 as positive, with the CECC classifying it as imported, but it said that two separate tests showed a high virus load in the man's body, which indicated a recent infection.

At a press conference on Friday, CECC spokesman Chuang Jen-hsiang (莊人祥) said authorities had conducted nucleic acid and serum tests on 14 employees at the quarantine hotel where the man had stayed, and all of the tests were negative.

A second series of tests, involving 20 passengers on the man's flight to Taiwan and the taxi driver who took him to the hotel, came back negative on Saturday, Lo Yi-chun (羅一鈞), deputy chief of the CECC's medical response division, said at a press briefing.

He said the CECC is now conducting genetic sequencing to determine whether the man's infection was connected to that of a German national, who was diagnosed with COVID-19 on Dec. 5 while staying at the same hotel.

However, Chuang said Friday that there was little chance the two infections were related, as the two patients had arrived in Taiwan at different times, had stayed on separate floors of the hotel, and had not left their rooms during the quarantine period,

The CECC did not give a date when the sequence analysis would be completed, saying only that it would take one to two weeks to cultivate viral cultures before the process could begin.

Taiwan has not recorded a domestic COVID-19 infection since April 12, and its total number of cases was 733 as of Saturday, with 641 classified as imported, according to CECC data.

(By Chang Ming-hsuan and Matthew Mazzetta)

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