《TAIPEI TIMES》CECC confirms two cases of COVID-19 from abroad
Central Epidemic Command Center spokesman Chuang Jen-hsiang speaks at a news conference in Taipei yesterday. Photo: CNA
TRAVEL EASING: The center welcomed a decision by Wales and Northern Ireland to exempt Taiwan from quarantine rules, but advised against unnecessary travel
By Lin Chia-nan / Staff reporter
The Central Epidemic Command Center yesterday announced two imported cases of COVID-19, bringing the total number of confirmed cases in the nation to 451.
Case No. 450 is a woman in her 20s who returned on Sunday from work in the US, but did not report any symptoms until two days later when she was in home quarantine, CECC spokesman Chuang Jen-hsiang （莊人祥） said.
Health authorities have identified 35 people who have had contact with the woman, including 24 needing home isolation, he said.
The other 11 are flight attendants who only need to practice self-health management, as they had adopted proper protective measures onboard, Chuang said.
Case No. 451 is a man in his 50s who had worked in Oman and returned via Dubai to Taiwan on Wednesday, Chuang said.
Authorities have identified 39 people who have had contact with the man, including 22 needing home isolation, he said.
Another 17 are flight attendants of other nationalities, he said, adding that the center would inform their respective countries through the International Health Regulation National Focal Point.
Asked about the decision by Wales and Northern Ireland on Thursday to follow England’s example in lifting the 14-day quarantine requirement for travelers from Taiwan effective yesterday, Chuang said the center welcomes the latest development, but added that overseas travel is not encouraged except for business exchanges.
Japan is reportedly planning a second-stage list of countries including Taiwan, China and South Korea that would be allowed to visit the country, but it has yet to finalize the plan, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said.
The ministry has expressed its hope to Tokyo that Taiwan would be included, it added.
Meanwhile, the CECC said that the so-called “unknown pneumonia” outbreak in Kazakhstan reported by the Chinese embassy there might be related to COVID-19, but more details are needed.
The non-COVID-19 pneumonia outbreak caused 1,772 deaths in the first half of the year, including 628 last month, the Chinese embassy in Kazakhstan said in a statement on Thursday.
The embassy said the Kazakh Ministry of Healthcare has not defined the nature of the virus in question. The ministry has refuted Chinese media reports suggesting that the “unknown pneumonia” that is deadlier than COVID-19 is sweeping the nation.
Chuang said that while Kazakhstan’s confirmed COVID-19 cases have risen drastically since last week, it only reported a fatality rate of 0.48 percent, lower than the global average of 4.57 percent, which is somewhat questionable.
Kazakhstan’s rate of positive test results for COVID-19 has surged from 5 percent last month to 23 percent this week, which suggests that some people with minor symptoms were not identified, he added.