TAIPEI (CNA) — A total of 10 new COVID-19 cases, all imported, were confirmed in Taiwan Tuesday, bringing the total number in the country to 77, the Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) said that day.
Among the 10 new cases, six are believed to have contracted the coronavirus during three tour group trips to Turkey, Egypt, Austria and the Czech Republic earlier this month, said Health Minister and CECC head Chen Shih-chung (陳時中).
The other four are believed to have been infected with the disease during recent trips to Iceland (case 74), Germany (case 75), France (case 76) and the Czech republic (via Dubai)/New York (case 77), according to the CECC.
In light of the increasing number of imported COVID-19 cases in Taiwan over the past week, Chen reiterated that the CECC urges Taiwan residents to avoid overseas travel for the time being.
As of Tuesday, 50 of the 77 confirmed cases in Taiwan have been classified as imported, the CECC said.
According to a CECC press release, Cases 68, 69, 70, and 73 tested positive for COVID-19 earlier Tuesday after being on the same tour group as cases 56, 57, 65, 66 and 67, to Turkey from March 4-13.
One of the four has so far shown no symptoms while the rest developed COVID-19 symptoms between March 7-14.
Currently, nine of the 15-member tour group to Turkey have tested positive for COVID-19 and the health authorities are monitoring the health of 148 people they have had contact with, the CECC added.
In case 71, a man in his 60s developed a cough, runny nose and diarrhea on March 13, a day after returning to the country following group travel to Egypt from March 3-12.
He was admitted to hospital on March 15 and test results confirmed he had COVID-19 earlier Tuesday.
The tour group to Egypt already had two confirmed coronavirus cases (case 55 and 63), the CECC said, adding that 105 people who have had contact with the confirmed cases are being monitored for symptoms.
Meanwhile, a woman in her 70s, who visited Austria and the Czech Republic from March 5-14 with a tour group and a family member (case 61) is the nation’s 72nd case.
She developed a fever and pneumonia-like symptoms on March 15 and has been in a hospital isolation room since then, the CECC said. Fifty-six people who have had contact with case 61 and 72 are being closely monitored by local authorities, it added.
As of Tuesday, over 179,588 COVID-19 cases and at least 7,086 deaths had been reported in 145 countries/territories worldwide, according to the CECC.
Currently, 22 of the 77 coronavirus patients in Taiwan have been released from quarantine, while one patient has died and the others are still in negative pressure hospital quarantine rooms, but are all in a relatively stable condition, according to the CECC.