Local infection not likely regarding newest confirmed COVID-19 cases: Health Minister Chen Shih-chung

TAIPEI (The China Post) — Health Minister Chen Shih-chung (陳時中) said on Wednesday that although health authorities are still investigating the infection source of the two newest COVID-19 cases reported in Taiwan, the possibility of them being local infections are not too high.

The Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC, 中央流行疫情指揮中心) reported two new confirmed cases, both of which are Taiwanese pilots.

However, as the source of infection is still unclear, it is impossible to determine whether it is an overseas infection, aircraft infection, or local infection.

Speaking to the press on Wednesday morning, Chen pointed out that the infection source of two domestic pilots is still unknown.

At present, the likeliest explanation is that the pilots were infected in Mumbai or Luxembourg, due to the countries’ high infection cases and the elevated risk of infection on long flight journeys, Chen said.

He added that health authorities are still conducting the investigation will continue to trace the pilots’ contact histories to better determine the source.

Another possibility is that the pilots were infected during their stay in Angelus (安格拉斯), Chen added.

The CECC will investigate the whereabouts and access records of the relevant hotels, he said.

The possibility that it is a local infection cannot be ruled out, Chen continued, as the two pilots had been on long and short flights within 14 days before the onset of the disease, and had also been out and about in Taiwan during those days.

Although all possible contacts have been tested for the virus, 10 are still waiting for the results, so the possibility of them being local infections is low but cannot be ruled out.

In view of the panic caused by the unknown source of infection, many are worried whether there is a breach in the pandemic prevention efforts.

Chen denied this but added that the CECC will respond cautiously and continue to track down the source of infection.

At the same time, he also called on the crew to get vaccinated as soon as possible.

According to the command center, the infection sources of the two cases are under investigation. As of press time, 131 contacts of the two cases have been preliminarily grasped, of which 2 are under quarantine and the rest are under self-health management.