Taiwan: source of deceased coronavirus patient found

Chen Shih-chung (陳時中) raises his arm to take questions at a press conference on Feb. 20, 2020. (CNA)
Chen Shih-chung (陳時中) raises his arm to take questions at a press conference on Feb. 20, 2020. (CNA)

TAIPEI (The China Post/ANN) — The Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC, 中央流行疫情指揮中心) has identified the source of infection of the coronavirus patient (case 19) who died on Feb. 15.

Coronavirus antibodies were found in the blood serum of a Taiwanese national who arrived in the country from Zhejiang (浙江), China last month and was “coughing severely” when driven by the deceased on Jan. 22, according to the CECC at a press conference on Thursday.

The passenger was among two others the center had listed as possible sources of contagion earlier this week.

Family members of the passenger have tested negative for the coronavirus, CECC Chief Commander Chen Shih-chung (陳時中) said.

A taxi driver is seen wearing a mask in Taipei in this photo taken on Feb. 17, 2020. (CNA)
A taxi driver is seen wearing a mask in Taipei in this photo taken on Feb. 17, 2020. (CNA)

Case 19 was the first person to die of the coronavirus in Taiwan.

In the days following his death, his younger brother, mother, sister, and nephew-in-law have been found to have contracted the virus.

This is by far the largest infection cluster reported in Taiwan.

With the source of infection uncovered, Chen reassured the public once again that there is no community spread in Taiwan at this time.

This comes in contrast with a notice seen on the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), in which Taiwan is listed alongside Japan, Singapore, South Korea, Thailand and Vietnam, as “destinations with apparent community spread.”

Chen told reporters that U.S. CDC likely had made this classification based on the opacity of the situation of case 19, but now authorities are “proactively clarifying” with their American counterparts that that is no longer the case.

The CECC rounded up 248 people who were in close contact with the family of the deceased, of which 247 have been tested for the coronavirus, of which 217 tested negative, 26 pending results.