Five imported cases of COVID-19, four from the Philippines and one from Hong Kong, were reported yesterday, bringing the total confirmed cases in Taiwan to 467, the Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) said yesterday.
The four returning from the Philippines were on the same flight, and the local health department has identified 15 people who had direct contact with them — including 10 passengers in the two rows in front or behind them, who have been put under 14-day home isolation, and five crew members, who will practice 14-day self-health management, said Centers for Disease Control (CDC) Deputy Director-General Chuang Jen-hsiang (莊人祥), the CECC spokesperson.
The same applies to the 12 passengers who sat in the two rows in front or behind the person returning from Hong Kong and crew members on that flight, he said.
As for the case of a Thai migrant worker in Bangkok who tested positive for COVID-19 after returning from Taiwan on Tuesday last week, Chuang said that 29 close contacts have been identified, including 18 who lived in the same dormitory — who have been placed in mandatory isolation — and 11 colleagues, who have been asked to practice self-health management.
The man, in his 30s, developed diarrhea on Wednesday, but did not develop a fever or other symptoms, but tested positive on Saturday in a reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) test, Chuang said.
Of the 18 dorm mates, one person developed a cough and runny nose on Saturday and is being isolated at a hospital, while the others have been placed in a centralized quarantine facility, he said.
RT-PCR results for 28 were negative and one is still being tested, while nucleic acid-based testing for antibodies also was negative in 28 people, while one is still being tested, Chuang said.
An additional 160 people who work at the same company have also been given RT-PCR tests and none have displayed symptoms, and the CECC is checking National Health Insurance data to identify any migrant workers in the Taoyuan area who might have recently sought treatment for suspected COVID-19 symptoms, he said.
As for the new imported cases, No. 463 is a man in his 50s who traveled to the Philippines in March for work, the spokesman said.
He developed a fever, a cough, impaired sense of smell, diarrhea and weakness on Tuesday last week, and sought treatment and was tested for COVID-19 on Friday, but he did not receive the test result before he returned to Taiwan on Sunday, Chuang said.
The man had a slight fever upon arrival at Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport, so he was tested for COVID-19 at the airport and taken to a centralized quarantine facility, the spokesman said.
Case No. 464 is man in his 30s, who has been working in Hong Kong since January, who began suffering chills and night sweats on July 16, but did not seek medical attention until he developed nasal congestion and an abnormal sense of smell on Thursday, he said.
Case No. 465 is a man in his 30s who had worked in the Philippines since January, and developed a cough, abnormal sense of smell, a sore throat and muscle pain on June 19, but tested negative for COVID-19 when he sought treatment, so he took over-the-counter cold medicine, Chuang said.
Both men reported their symptoms to airport officials and received their positive test results yesterday, he said.
Cases 466 and 467 are a married couple in their 70s who traveled to the Philippines in January to visit family, he said.
The woman (No. 467) developed a fever, a cough and shortness of breath on July 17, but took medicine on her own and did not seek treatment, he said.
However, she reported her symptoms before boarding Sunday’s flight and upon arrival, so she and her husband were tested at the airport, he added.
SURPRISE GUEST: Media reports identified the visitor as Admiral Michael Studeman, director of the J2, which oversees intelligence at the US military’s Indo-Pacific Command A two-star US Navy admiral overseeing US military intelligence in the Asia-Pacific region has made an unannounced visit to Taiwan, two sources told Reuters on Sunday. The sources, who include a Taiwanese official familiar with the situation, said the official was Rear Admiral Michael Studeman. They were speaking on condition of anonymity. After initially saying on Sunday night that it had no comment about the report, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said it welcomed the visit of an “unidentified US official,” but declined to give more details because the trip “has not been made public.” Presidential Office spokesman Xavier Chang (張惇涵) yesterday
AUTUMN STRUGGLE: The KMT and TPP set up stages on the rally’s sidelines, while Want Want boss Tsai Eng-meng said the DPP was curtailing freedom of speech Tens of thousands of people in Taipei yesterday took part in the “Autumn Struggle” (秋鬥) — an annual protest march by labor groups — but with this year’s focus on rejecting the government’s plan to allow imports of US pork containing ractopamine residue. “Against poisonous pork, against double standards, against a party-state,” the protesters, mostly wearing black, chanted in front of the rally’s main stage on Ketagalan Boulevard at about noon, before a parade set off at 2pm. Autumn Struggle spokesperson Lee Chien-cheng (李建誠) said this year’s march was divided into three teams, with the first team urging food safety and labor
DEFENSE: The construction of indigenous submarines will be a testament to the nation’s commitment to safeguard its sovereignty, President Tsai Ing-wen said President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) yesterday presided over a ceremony to mark the start of construction of the nation’s first indigenous submarine at state-run shipbuilder CSBC Corp’s (台灣國際造船) shipyard in Kaohsiung. “This submarine is an important part of allowing our navy to develop asymmetric warfare and to intimidate and block enemy ships from surrounding Taiwan’s main island,” Tsai said. “With the construction of the submarine to its future commission, we will certainly let the world know our persistence in safeguarding our sovereignty.” Tsai has made boosting the nation’s indigenous defense capacity a central pillar of her defense policy. She recently relaunched the
TIMELINE QUESTIONS: Chen Shih-chung said: ‘If anyone could assure us that we could get the shots in the first quarter of next year, we could set off firecrackers’ Taiwan has secured nearly 15 million COVID-19 vaccine doses, the Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) said yesterday, as it reported five new imported infections among travelers from Indonesia and the Philippines. Minister of Health and Welfare Chen Shih-chung (陳時中), who heads the center, said that Taiwan on Monday signed a procurement contract with a COVID-19 vaccine manufacturer and paid a deposit to secure 10 million doses. It was the first contract finalized with a manufacturer and negotiations are under way with three other vaccine makers, Chen said. With the more than 4.6 million doses that can be obtained through the COVAX platform —