《TAIPEI TIMES》CECC confirms two more cases
Minister of Health and Welfare Chen Shih-chung, front row third left, yesterday speaks about the COVID-19 outbreak alongside Centers for Disease Control （CDC） Deputy Director-General Chuang Jen-hsiang, left, CDC Director-General Chou Jih-haw, second left, at a news conference at the Central Epidemic Command Center in Taipei. Photo: CNA
By Sean Lin / Staff reporter
Two more people were yesterday confirmed to have contracted COVID-19, bringing the nation’s number of confirmed cases to 34, the Central Epidemic Command Center （CECC） said.
The 33rd patient is a man in his 30s who visited Osaka, Japan, where he most likely contracted the virus, Minister of Health and Welfare Chen Shih-chung （陳時中）, who heads the center, told a news conference in Taipei.
The man and 21 other members of a tour group stayed in Japan from Monday to Thursday last week, Chen added.
The man on Tuesday started displaying pneumonia-like symptoms and was yesterday confirmed to have contracted the virus, Chen said.
The 34th case is a woman in her 50s who had not traveled overseas in the 14 days prior to it being confirmed that she had contracted the coronavirus, he said.
On Feb. 14, the woman felt fatigued and suffered from low blood sugar and was hospitalized the same day, but only developed a cough and fever on Friday last week, Chen said, adding that she tested positive yesterday.
Disease-prevention personnel are screening the people who came into close contact with the two patients, including hospital staff and members of the tour group, the center said.
Asked whether the center would tighten border controls for people returning from Japan, Chen said that the center is retaining a level 2 “alert” for the nation.
The center is more concerned about the number of cases in South Korea, Italy and Iran, he added.
Three more patients treated for COVID-19 were discharged from hospital on Thursday after recovering, the center said adding that nine people have now been discharged from hospital.
Other nations have reported COVID-19 patients who relapsed after being discharged, so people must now test negative on three screenings before being discharged, Chen said.
The Ministry of Labor has translated disease-prevention procedures into English, Thai, Indonesian and Vietnamese, and they are to be displayed at airports, broadcast on the radio and posted on social media, so that migrant workers can be informed about the coronavirus and their fears allayed, Workforce Development Agency Deputy Director-General Tsai Meng-liang （蔡孟良） said.
Asked whether employers of foreign workers should quarantine them in their place of employment, Tsai said that is illegal, as the law guarantees workers’ right to take leave.
However, employers should remind workers to wash their hands frequently and avoid contact with wild animals, he said, adding that workers should be given a mask if they go to a hospital.
Factory owners can voluntarily cease operations at their facilities if a worker tests positive for COVID-19 and the Communicable Disease Control Act （傳染病防治法） gives workers the right to take leave should clear risks of contracting an epidemic arise, Tsai said.
Centers for Disease Control Director-General Chou Jih-haw （周志浩） said that people should not rule out the possibility of their dogs contracting COVID-19, after trace amounts of the coronavirus were found in a pet dog in Hong Kong.
People should wash their hands after touching animals and promptly consult a veterinarian if their pet shows signs of illness, he said.
Additional reporting by CNA