Taiwan confirms 16 new cases of COVID-19, bringing total to 283

Health Minister Chen Shih-chung (陳時中) / Photo courtesy of the CECC

TAIPEI (CNA) — Sixteen new cases of the COVID-19 coronavirus were confirmed in Taiwan Saturday, bringing the total to 283 since the pandemic began, the Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) said.

All of the new patients — nine females and seven males — are Taiwanese, said Health Minister Chen Shih-chung (陳時中), who also heads the CECC.

Of the 16 new cases, 14 were imported, while the other two did not have any recent history of overseas travel, Chen said.

In one of the local infections, the man in his 50s started showing symptoms of coughing, sore throat, headache and fever between Feb. 28 to March 18, before being admitted to hospital March 20 for pneumonia and fever, Chen said.

The man was discharged from hospital March 23 but sought medical attention again two days later for fever, shortness of breath, and diarrhea, Chen said, adding that an initial investigation showed that he had contact with 102 people, Chen said.

The other case of local transmission, a man in his 30s showed symptoms of muscle ache, diarrhea and fever between March 23-24 and was found that he had contact with seven people, Chen said.

Meanwhile, the 14 patients deemed to have contracted COVID-19 overseas all returned to Taiwan in the period March 6-26, and reported that their symptoms started between March 1 and March 25, the CECC said.

The countries they had visited were the United Kingdom, Spain, Switzerland, Australia, Czech Republic, Canada, Ireland, the United States, and the Philippines, according to the CECC.

Two of the cases are believed to be cluster infections among students studying overseas, the CECC said.

One of the cases was No. 272, a man in his 20s who studied in the U.K. at the same educational institution with case numbers 152, 222, 223, 224 and 225, the CECC said.

He started showing symptoms March 19 and sought medical treatment after he returned to Taiwan March 25, the CECC said.

The other cluster case was No. 276, a teenager who was studying at a school in Spain with case numbers 58, 64, 80, and 213, the CECC said.

She started showing symptoms March 18 after she returned to Taiwan March 12, the CECC said.

The other 12 new patients were all individual cases, including three who had traveled to the U.S., according to the CECC.

As of Saturday, 241 of Taiwan’s 283 cases had been classified as imported, while the other 42 are believed to be local infections, the CECC said.

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Thirty of Taiwan’s COVID-19 patients have been released from quarantine, while two have died. The others are still undergoing hospital quarantine but are all in relatively stable condition, the CECC said.

Globally, COVID-19 has infected 578,845 patients in 177 countries and regions, including 100,717 in the U.S., 86,498 in Italy, 81,394 in China, 64,059 in Spain, and 42,288 in Germany, with 26,703 fatalities to date, according to the CECC.

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