The government is considering tightening mask-wearing rules again in light of a potential domestic COVID-19 infection, Minister of Health and Welfare Chen Shih-chung (陳時中) said yesterday.
The Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) confirmed seven new COVID-19 cases, six of which are imported.
The other case involves a Belgian engineer who entered Taiwan on May 3 and remained in quarantine until May 17, said Chen, who heads the CECC.
Photo courtesy of the Central Epidemic Command Center via CNA
Although the source of infection has yet to be identified, the case could end the nation’s record of not having any domestic cases in the previous 110 days.
The Belgian, in his 20s, is a technician working on an offshore wind project in Changhua County.
He underwent COVID-19 testing to be able to return to his native country, Chen said.
Photo: Liu Pin-chuan, Taipei Times
The man tested positive in two polymerase chain reaction (PCR) tests, with cycle threshold values of 34 and 33, which Chen described as a “weak positive,” but still in the positive range for a disease considered to have an incubation period of two to 14 days.
The man was also tested for antibodies, Chen said, adding that his IgM — the first antibody the body makes when it fights a new infection — was negative, while IgG was “strongly positive.”
According to a US Federal Drug Administration fact sheet dated June 12, IgG antibodies generally start appearing about seven to 10 days after infection and often indicate a past infection.
Chen said the case has not yet been classified as an imported or domestic case, because if the man’s IgM is negative and IgG is positive, he might have been infected a long time ago.
The Belgian has been put in an isolation ward in a hospital and 89 people who had come into close contact with him are being monitored, Chen said, adding that 82 of them are under home quarantine, while the other seven are required to monitor their own health.
The Belgian had followed the rules and wore a mask on public transport, but had often gone outdoors, where he sometimes took his mask off, Chen said.
Since his movements are clear, the CECC does not plan to make them public, he said.
Five of the imported cases, men aged between 20 and 80, are from the Philippines, while the other is from Guatemala, Chen said.
They entered the nation from July 15 to Thursday and started to exhibit symptoms from July 10 to Friday, he said.
The new cases raised the nation’s total number of confirmed cases to 474 — 382 imported and 55 domestic cases, as well as 36 cases from the navy’s “Friendship Flotilla” and one case that needs further investigation.
With the pandemic raging overseas, Chen reminded Taiwanese to keep their guard up and always wear a mask when they are indoors — for example in theaters, karaoke bars, elevators and study centers.
He also urged people to wash their hands frequently and practice social distancing.
The government would maintain strict border controls, he said, adding that the nation is still safe from the risk of community outbreaks.
“If 80 percent of people often wear masks, the nation would be very safe. If only 70 percent of people did, there could be a problem, but right now the rate is under 30 percent,” he said, reiterating the importance of wearing masks indoors.
‘WEAK POSITIVE’: The man arrived in Taiwan in May and was quarantined for two weeks, Chen Shih-chung said, adding that he might be infected a long time ago The government is considering tightening mask-wearing rules again in light of a potential domestic COVID-19 infection, Minister of Health and Welfare Chen Shih-chung (陳時中) said yesterday. The Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) confirmed seven new COVID-19 cases, six of which are imported. The other case involves a Belgian engineer who entered Taiwan on May 3 and remained in quarantine until May 17, said Chen, who heads the CECC. Although the source of infection has yet to be identified, the case could end the nation’s record of not having any domestic cases in the previous 110 days. The Belgian, in his 20s, is a technician
BRIBERY CASE: President Tsai Ing-wen accepted Su Jia-chyuan’s resignation as he said that he deeply regretted causing trouble for the president due to the investigation Presidential Office Secretary-General Su Jia-chyuan (蘇嘉全) yesterday resigned after his nephew, Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Legislator Su Chen-ching (蘇震清), was implicated in a bribery case related to a dispute over the ownership of Pacific Sogo Department Store (太平洋崇光百貨). “I resigned from the post so that President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) would not be bothered by it anymore, and the prosecutors can investigate the case in a fair and just manner. I thank President Tsai once again for supporting me. May the country continue to prosper under her leadership,” Su Jia-chyuan said in a statement. The Presidential Office said that Tsai has accepted
‘INCREASINGLY FAVORED’: Taiwan’s ‘transparent laws and efficient courts’ as well as its financial institutions give it a major advantage to become a financial hub, Tsai said Taiwan would liberalize banking and investment rules to establish itself as a regional financial hub, President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) told the Taiwan Capital Market Forum in Taipei yesterday. Recent world events could be an opening for Taiwan to become an international center for business investments and financial management, Tsai said at the forum, which was organized by the Chinese-language Liberty Times (the sister publication of the Taipei Times). “We’re facing unknowns in the world right now, including the continuing impact of US-China trade tensions and the reorganization of the global supply chain after COVID-19,” Tsai said. “These bring new challenges and opportunities.” Tsai
ALEX AZAR: The first visit by a head of the Department of Health and Human Services would strictly observe the CECC’s special regulations, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said US Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS) Alex Azar is to lead a delegation to Taiwan — the highest-level visit by a US Cabinet official since the two sides cut formal relations in 1979. The plan was announced yesterday morning by the US Department of Health and Human Services and confirmed by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA). Beijing has expressed its concerns to Washington, Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesman Wang Wenbin (汪文斌) said later yesterday. Taiwan and the US only issued statements saying that the visit would happen “in the coming days.” MOFA said that due to security concerns, it would