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Homeland Security

Taiwan reports first domestic case of COVID-19 in 253 days (update)

ROC Central News Agency

12/22/2020 05:10 PM

Taipei, Dec. 22 (CNA) A local contact of a pilot from New Zealand who was diagnosed with COVID-19 on Sunday has tested positive for the virus, the first domestic case reported in Taiwan since April 12, the Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) said Tuesday.

Three other imported cases of COVID-19 were also confirmed on Tuesday, all from the Philippines, according to the CECC.

The CECC said the newly confirmed indigenous case involves a Taiwanese woman in her 30s who was found to have had close contact with the infected New Zealander, so the health authorities tested her, the result of which returned positive.

The pilot tested positive for the disease on Dec. 20. According to the CECC, he flew to Manila on a same-day return flight on Nov. 28, then flew to the U.S. on Nov. 29 and returned to Taiwan on Dec. 4.

During an investigation to trace the pilot's contacts during Dec. 8-12, he did not mention he had made any contact with the Taiwanese woman, the CECC said.

However, a police probe found that the pilot had indeed had close contact with the woman Dec. 7-12 and she was asked to take a test on Dec. 21, the CECC added.

The CECC said the woman and the pilot visited Shin Kong Mitsukoshi Department Store's Tianmu branch in Taipei from 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. on Dec. 8 and shopped at SOGO Department Store's Tianmu branch from 6:30 p.m.-7:30 p.m. on Dec. 10 before visiting Costco's Nankan outlet in Taoyuan from 11 a.m. until noon on Dec. 11.

According to the CECC, the health authorities have traced 167 people who had contact with the woman and all of them will be tested. As of press time, 154 of them had been placed under self-health management protocols and 13 were in home quarantine, the CECC said.

Since the pilot was not honest in disclosing the fact that he had been in contact with the woman during the contact-tracing investigation, he will face a fine of up to NT$300,000 (US$10,575), the CECC said.

Meanwhile, Quanta Computer Inc., a leading notebook computer ODM service provider in Taiwan, confirmed on Tuesday that the woman in question was an employee of its affiliate and that she had tested positive for COVID-19.

While Quanta declined to name the affiliate, it said the firm has gone on the alert, controlling personnel flow in its building and banning the entry of visitors.

Quanta also confirmed that as of Tuesday, the employee was the country's first local COVID-19 case since April 12.

In terms of the three new imported cases from the Philippines, the CECC said they involve two male migrant workers and a female migrant worker.

One of the male migrant workers arrived in Taiwan on Dec. 7 with a negative test report, the CECC said. Although he did not show any symptoms, he took a test on Dec. 20 before completing his quarantine and was confirmed to have COVID-19 Tuesday.

The CECC said the female worker also arrived in Taiwan Dec. 7 with a negative test report. Despite showing no symptoms, she took a test on Dec. 20 and was confirmed to have the virus Tuesday.

The other Filipino man arrived in Taiwan on Nov. 8 for fishing work and presented a negative test report. He took a test on Nov. 21 and again got a negative outcome. Another test on Dec. 20, however, tested positive on Tuesday.

To date, Taiwan has recorded 770 cases of COVID-19, 675 of which have been classified as imported. Of the total, 632 have recovered, 131 are in the hospital and seven have died, according to CECC data.

(By Chen Wei-ting, Chang Ming-hsuan, Jeffrey Wu, Y.F. Low and Frances Huang)

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