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《TAIPEI TIMES》 CECC reports two new confirmed cases

People wearing masks cross a street in Taipei yesterday.
Photo: Ritchie B. Tongo/EPA-EFE

People wearing masks cross a street in Taipei yesterday. Photo: Ritchie B. Tongo/EPA-EFE

2020-02-18 03:00:00

‘SPORADIC CASE’: The two new cases are family members of a taxi driver who died on Saturday after testing positive for COVID-19 infection

By Lee I-chia / Staff reporter

The Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) has reported two more confirmed cases of COVID-19 infection, raising the total number of cases in the nation to 22.

The two new cases are family members who lived with the 19th confirmed patient, who became the first in the nation to die from the infection on Saturday, Minister of Health and Welfare Chen Shih-chung (陳時中), who heads the center, told a news conference last night.

The center on Sunday night said the 19th confirmed patient did not travel abroad and had not been exposed to infected cases, but added that the risk of “community spread” was low.

The 19th case was a 61-year-old man in central Taiwan, who was hospitalized on Feb. 3 for suspected serious flu complications with pneumonia. He died on Saturday, shortly after he tested positive for COVID-19.

Asked if the case could be deemed a case of community-

acquired infection, Chen said “it can be considered so,” but later added, “a sporadic case.”

He later added that “community spread” means people have a risk of getting infected by just walking around in communities.

The minister listed four signs of a community infection: inability to find the source of infection, a higher number of locally infected cases than imported cases, a continuous chain of infections and widespread clusters of cases.

So far, only the death case partially matches the first sign and the center is still tracking the source of infection, Chen said.

As public concern over local transmission increased, the center late on Sunday night provided a video clip of Chen elaborating on the case.

“Local transmission is defined by continuous person-to-person spread within communities, but the case we announced is only a sporadic case,” he said. “People do not have to be too worried, because so far the risk of continuous person-to-person spread within communities is very, very low.”

Chen said the man who died was an independent taxi driver, who had as passengers a large number of Taiwanese based in China who came back during the Lunar New Year holiday.

Three of those passengers have been ordered to monitor their health conditions for 14 days after returning to Taiwan, and are now being tested for COVID-2019, he said, adding that all medical professionals who treated the man tested negative.

Vice President Chen Chien-jen (陳建仁), who was the head of the Department of Health during the SARS outbreak in 2003, yesterday wrote on Facebook that the 19th case could be considered “local infected/transmitted,” and the source of infection is being investigated.

Citing the minister’s remark about the definition and signs of “community spread,” he said that the current situation in the nation does not match the other three signs, so Taiwan is not in a state of “community spread,” and the nation’s disease prevention level does not need to be raised.

新聞來源:TAIPEI TIMES

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