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Homeland Security

All contacts of domestic COVID-19 case test negative: health minister

ROC Central News Agency

12/24/2020 06:13 PM

Taipei, Dec. 24 (CNA) A total of 176 individuals who had contact with a newly-confirmed domestic COVID-19 case have received both nucleic acid and antibody tests and the results came back negative for the disease, Health Minister Chen Shih-chung (陳時中) said Thursday at a press conference.

The development came after a locally transmitted case of COVID-19, a Taiwanese woman in her 30s, was confirmed on Tuesday as having been infected by a New Zealand cargo pilot, ending the nation's 253-day streak of no domestic cases of COVID-19 since April 12, according to the Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC).

In addition to the woman, who is referred to by local health officials as case No. 771, the pilot also infected two of his colleagues, a Taiwanese co-pilot and a Japanese co-pilot, the center added.

The New Zealand pilot has since been sacked by Taiwanese international airline EVA Airways over breaches of Taiwan's COVID-19 control protocols, the airline said Wednesday.

Also at the press conference, Chen urged the public not to share false information pertaining to local COVID-19 cases, responding to a local media report stating case No. 771 took part in a marathon.

Chen, who is head of the Ministry of Health and Welfare (MOHW) and the CECC, denied the report and said pertinent information related to COVID-19 cases will be released by the health authorities.

Information about where a COVID-19 case has been is only made public when the authorities are unable to determine who they were in contact with in public places, Chen added, citing current contact tracing principles.

Chen warned that anyone spreading false information on social media regarding COVID-19 that causes public panic is liable to legal sanction, citing both the Criminal Code and Civil Code.

Widespread distribution of false information does not help the implementation of COVID-19 protocols, Chen added.

As of Thursday, Taiwan has reported a total of 776 COVID-19 cases, 681 of which have been classified as imported. Of the 776 cases, 635 have recovered, 134 are in hospital while seven have died, CECC data showed.

As the coronavirus pandemic continues, COVID-19 has infected over 77.8 million people in 191 countries and regions, with more than 1.73 million fatalities, according to CECC statistics as of Thursday.

(By Chang Ming-hsuan and Chung Yu-chen)


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