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Taiwan reports 460 new COVID cases, including backlog; 6 deaths (update)

ROC Central News Agency

05/23/2021 06:23 PM

Taipei, May 23 (CNA) Taiwan on Sunday reported a total of 460 COVID-19 cases, of which 287 were new domestic cases, three were new imported cases and 170 were domestic cases delayed by a reporting backlog of confirmed test results, according to the Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC).

Of the 457 domestic cases, including new cases and retroactively added ones, 215 were reported in New Taipei, with 49 recorded in Banqiao District, and 165 were reported in Taipei, of which 86 were recorded in Wanhua District, according to the CECC.

Taoyuan reported 23 cases, Changhua County 11, and eight each were reported in Pingtung and Nantou counties.

Seven cases were reported in Yilan County, five each in Keelung and Taichung, and two each in Tainan, Hsinchu and Yunlin County.

Chiayi City, and the counties of Hualien, Chiayi, and Hsinchu recorded one case each.

The CECC has found that 161 of the cases had recently been to Wanhua and 25 were linked to hostess teahouses in the district.

Sixteen cases were linked to other clusters, including that involving a local Lions Club International organization in New Taipei, and a couple from Changhua County who sold fruit in Taipei and infected others in their community after returning.

Another 119 had "known infection sources," which the CECC did not elaborate on, 70 had no links to existing clusters or cases, and 66 were under investigation, it said.

Sunday marked the second time the CECC has retroactively added cases to the past week's case count, which it explained as being caused by a "bottleneck" among local health authorities in reporting cases due to the high number of confirmed cases in recent days.

This is an "issue with the system, not due to a careless omission," Health Minister Chen Shih-chung (陳時中) said at a press briefing Sunday.

Chen said the CECC is taking steps to solve the problem by simplifying the reporting process and granting up to NT$5 million (US$178,799) to each certified laboratory that acquires better equipment to process the test results.

The CECC is also considering using rapid tests -- which produce results faster but have a higher rate of producing false positives -- instead of the polymerase chain reaction (PCR) tests used so far to confirm COVID-19 infections, Chen said.

In addition to the domestic infections, Taiwan also recorded three imported cases on Sunday, from Indonesia, the Philippines and Denmark.

As for the six deaths reported by the CECC on Sunday, they are five men and one woman, aged 50-90, who passed away between May 20-21. All of the men had chronic illnesses.

The woman, in her 80s, began to experience shortness of breath on May 17 and went to see a doctor that day. She died three days later in hospital. Her son has told the CECC she did not have any chronic diseases, said CECC spokesperson Chuang Jen-hsiang (莊人祥).

To date, Taiwan has reported a total of 4,322 COVID-19 cases, of which 3,158 have been domestic infections, the vast majority of which have been reported since May 15, CECC data shows.

A total of 23 people have died of the disease in Taiwan.

(By Chiang Yi-ching)


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