TAIPEI (CNA) — Fifteen new cases of the COVID-19 coronavirus were confirmed in Taiwan Sunday, bringing the total number to 298 since the pandemic began, according to the Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC).
All of the new patients — nine males and six females — are Taiwanese, said Health Minister Chen Shih-chung (陳時中), who also heads the CECC.
Of the 15 new cases, 14 were imported, while the other did not have any recent history of overseas travel, Chen said.
The local infection, a women in her 40s, started showing symptoms of fever and rhinitis March 22, after her husband returned from a group tour of Spain and Portugal between March 7-16, the CECC said.
The husband started showing symptoms March 23 and is believed to have infected his wife through close physical contact, the CECC said.
Meanwhile, the other 13 patients deemed to have contracted COVID-19 overseas all returned to Taiwan in the March 14-27 period, and reported that their symptoms started between Feb. 15 and March 25, the CECC said.
The countries they had visited or had worked in were France, Spain, Portugal, Switzerland, Turkey, Morocco, Tunisia, Indonesia, the United States, the United Kingdom and the Philippines, according to the CECC.
One of the cases, No. 284, a man in his 20s, started showing symptoms March 25, after he returned to Taiwan after working in the Philippines between Jan. 31 and March 20, the CECC said.
The man was found to have took the the same flight — BR-282 — from the Philippines to Taiwan, as case No. 277, who was confirmed Saturday to be infected.
Meanwhile, another case was reported involving a married couple who were vacationing in Indonesia, the CECC said.
The couple, a man in his 60s and a woman in her 50s, traveled to Indonesia March 10-14 and both started showing symptoms March 22 after returning to Taiwan, the CECC said.
Another cluster case is that of a man in his 20s, case No. 288, after he returned to Taiwan with a tour group that visited Morocco March 10-22 that also involved a previously confirmed case, No. 250, the CECC said.
The 250th case, which was confirmed March 26, is a woman in her 30s who became symptomatic March 20, according to the CECC.
The remaining nine new patients were all individual cases, including three who had traveled to France, according to the CECC.
As of Sunday, 255 of Taiwan’s 298 cases had been classified as imported, while the other 43 are believed to be local infections, the CECC said.
Thirty-nine 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 645,244 patients in 177 countries and regions, including 119,748 in the U.S., 92,472 in Italy, 81,439 in China, 72,248 in Spain and 48,582 in Germany, with 29,854 fatalities to date, according to the CECC.