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Six new COVID-19 cases Friday include 2 EVA Air pilots

ROC Central News Agency

09/03/2021 07:54 PM

Taipei, Sept. 3 (CNA) Taiwan reported six new COVID-19 cases on Friday, including two EVA Air pilots who had recently contracted the disease overseas, according to the Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC).

The two pilots returned to Taiwan on the same flight from Brisbane, Australia on Aug. 31 and both had already been fully vaccinated against COVID-19, but they tested positive after coming down with itchy throats, Health and Welfare Minister Chen Shih-chung (陳時中) said at the daily CECC press briefing.

One of the pilots had flown from Chicago to Taiwan, before going on to Brisbane to fly a plane to Taiwan with the other pilot, which is why the CECC listed these two cases as imported, Chen said.

Both are Taiwanese nationals in their 50s, the epidemic center said, adding that it has so far identified 75 people who had come into contact with the pilots and they were all in quarantine and will be tested for COVID-19.

At the press event, CECC official Lo Yi-chun (羅一鈞) said those two cases were classified as breakthrough infections, as the pilots had already been fully vaccinated with the AstraZeneca vaccine.

Because the two pilots had already received two vaccine doses and 14 days had passed since their last shot, they were allowed to quarantine at home upon returning to Taiwan, according to the CECC.

Lo said the two pilots were highly unlikely to be linked to a previously confirmed imported case which also involved another EVA Air pilot who was later diagnosed as having the Delta variant of COVID-19.

This is because they had all flown different planes at different times, Chen explained.

The other imported cases involved two Taiwanese nationals who returned from the United States and Thailand on Aug. 31 and Sept. 1, respectively, and tested positive for COVID-19 upon arrival at the airport, the CECC said.

Meanwhile, two of the six new cases reported Friday were transmitted domestically, the health minister said, with one being the son of one of the EVA Air pilots who had been confirmed on the same day as having contracted the disease.

According to the CECC, the low cycle threshold (CT) value of the boy's COVID-19 test shows that he has a high viral load. His classmates and their family members as well as those who used the classroom he was in have all been placed in 14-day quarantine, it said.

The other domestic case reported on Friday was a woman in her 50s who developed COVID-19 symptoms such as a cough and sore throat between Aug. 26 and Sept. 1, the CECC said.

The new cases bring the total in Taiwan to 16,012, of which 14,367 are domestic infections reported since May 15, when the country first recorded more than 100 COVID-19 cases in a single day.

No new deaths from the disease were recorded on Friday, the CECC said.

To date, 837 people have died of COVID-19 in Taiwan, including 825 since May 15.

(By Chen Chien-ling, Chang Ming-hsuan and Ko Lin)

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