Three COVID-19 cases highlighted as ‘high risk’ for community spread

CNA file photo

TAIPEI (CNA) — Three of the 23 new COVID-19 cases confirmed Wednesday in Taiwan have been identified by the Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) as being of potential high risk for further community spread of the coronavirus.

The CECC earlier Wednesday announced 23 new COVID-19 cases, 21 of which originated overseas, bringing the total number in the country to 100.

Among the 23 cases, the CECC singled out three; a French tourist (case 83), a Taiwanese woman returning from Indonesia (case 94), and a Taiwanese female (case 100) who is believed to have contracted the virus locally.

Centers for Disease Control (CDC) Deputy Director-General Chuang Jen-hsiang (莊人祥) told reporters that the French national, a tourist in his 20s, arrived in Taipei on March 12 and visited the city’s major tourist sights for days before going to a local hospital on March 16 after developing a fever.

He remained in his hotel room from March 16 under “self-health management” and the test results came back positive later that day, Chuang said. He is now under medical treatment in a hospital isolation room.

Case 94 is a Taiwanese woman in her 20s who traveled to Bali with her husband from March 6-12, where she developed a sore throat and earache.

The woman passed quarantine checks at Taoyuan International Airport because she did not have a fever. Instead of going to work, she spent three days in a hotel from March 12-14 and did not visit a hospital until March 16 after she again developed related symptoms, Chuang noted.

Meanwhile, case 100 is a woman in her 20s in southern Taiwan who has no recent overseas travel history but developed a sore throat, coughing and fever on March 12, according to Chuang.

The woman visited a clinic that day but the medication did not alleviate her symptoms and she went back to the clinic on March 16 when she was diagnosed with a regular cold.

The patient visited a hospital emergency room when she began to have difficulty breathing on March 17 and that was where she tested positive for COVID-19, according to Chuang.

The woman’s family members have not displayed any COVID-19 symptoms so far, and health authorities are still trying to determine the source of her infection, he noted.

CECC head, Health Minister Chen Shih-chung (陳時中), said health authorities are paying extra attention to these three cases because each individual was free to travel around before being diagnosed.

The other 20 cases confirmed Wednesday were sent to hospital for checks not long after they returned to Taiwan or after being in contact with confirmed cases and are unlikely to have infected others locally, according to the CECC.

The CECC said it is currently identifying those who had contact with the three individuals in Taiwan and will closely monitor their health in an effort to prevent the further spread of the virus.

Also Wednesday, the CECC identified the first three imported cases from the United States. All three are Taiwanese who recently visited New York City.

As of Wednesday, 71 of the 100 confirmed cases in the country have been classified as imported, and of the 47 confirmed cases over the last four days, only two are believed to have been infected with the virus locally, according to CECC numbers.