《TAIPEI TIMES》CECC reports new imported case
Minister of Health and Welfare Chen Shih-chung speaks at the Central Epidemic Command Center’s daily news conference in Taipei yesterday. Photo: CNA
GOING HOME:A total of 427 people infected with COVID-19 have left isolation, with nine people still hospitalized, as the nation enters its 50th day without a domestic case
By Lee I-chia / Staff reporter
The Central Epidemic Command Center （CECC） yesterday reported one new imported case of COVID-19, bringing the total number of confirmed cases in Taiwan to 443.
Minister of Health and Welfare Chen Shih-chung （陳時中）, head of the center, said that a woman in her 50s, who had visited the US on a business trip in March, returned to Taiwan on Sunday with the disease.
Her symptoms of a fever, runny nose and coughing began on May 18, and on May 21 she lost her sense of smell, he said.
She reported her condition to the airport quarantine officers upon arrival, he said, adding that she was tested for COVID-19 at the airport and has entered a quarantine center.
Her test results came back positive yesterday and she has been hospitalized for treatment, while the 37 passengers who sat in the two rows in front or behind her on the same flight to Taiwan have been placed under mandatory home isolation for 14 days, Chen said.
A total of 427 infected patients have left isolation after recovery, which leaves nine people hospitalized for treatment, he said, adding that no domestic cases have been reported for 50 consecutive days.
When asked to comment on a remark by EVA Airways chairman Steve Lin （林寶水） that Taiwan could ease border controls by first allowing foreign visitors to make transit flights without entry, Deputy Minister of the Interior Chen Tsung-yen （陳宗彥） said the CECC had last week discussed the issue with the Civil Aeronautics Administration.
Because arriving and connecting passengers at Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport’s terminal one and two mix together, the center had asked the administration to coordinate with the airport to arrange specialized passenger flow lines to separate them, he said.
If the airport can come up with a plan, the CECC would consider allowing airlines to resume transit flights, he said.
Addressing the easing of border controls to allow foreign visitors to enter Taiwan, Centers for Disease Control Deputy Director-General and CECC spokesperson Chuang Jen-hsiang （莊人祥） said that the CECC has a set of criteria for assessing risk in countries and regions.
The center evaluates the COVID-19 situation in the nation （by the number of confirmed cases in 14 days per 1 million people）, its testing capacity, its information transparency level and considers bilateral reciprocity with the country or region, Chuang said.
Implementing isolation and quarantine measures to separate people infected with the virus is important at the initial stage of the COVID-19 outbreak, and the efficiency and accuracy of the operation relies on a well-designed and coordinated information system, Chen Shih-chung added.