TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — As the number of coronavirus cases on a cruise ship quarantined off the coast of Japan continues to climb, Taiwanese authorities have pinpointed more than 30 spots visited by passengers of the ill-fated Diamond Princess after it pulled into Taiwan on Jan. 31, and individuals who were in the vicinity of the sites that day are advised to self-monitor their health in the coming days.
The Diamond Princess made port of call at the Port of Keelung just days after a passenger infected with the Wuhan coronavirus (2019-nCoV) got off at Hong Kong, and an as-yet-unknown number of passengers disembarked on sightseeing excursions throughout northern Taiwan during the scheduled 10-hour stopover. The vessel has been quarantined in waters off Yokohama, Japan, since Tuesday (Feb. 4), with 64 of the 3,711 guests and crew on board testing positive for the pneumonia-causing virus as of the time of writing.
According to the Taiwan International Ports Corporation Ltd., which operates the port, passengers did not book itineraries through any of the country's systems, thus the full disembarkation list cannot be tracked at present. It added that since the identities of the confirmed coronavirus patients are unknown, it is difficult to confirm whether or not they disembarked at Keelung and traveled inland.
Facing the prospect of a new wave of infections as the country struggles to contain the outbreak, Taiwan's Centers for Disease Control (CDC) responded by forming a special unit, which completed its preliminary investigation into the ship's docking route as well as disembarked passengers' travel routes on Thursday (Feb. 6), according to the country's Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC).
Chen Shih-chung (陳時中), who heads the agency's Central Epidemic Outbreak Command Center, said during a press conference Friday evening (Feb. 7) that Keelung City Mayor Lin Yu-chang (林右昌) had looked into the tour buses, night markets, and taxi cabs exposed to potentially infected cruise passengers. He added that the CDC was releasing a list of northern Taiwan locations confirmed to have been on passengers' itineraries, including such tourist hot spots as Taipei 101, New Taipei's Jiufen, and Keelung's Heping Island.
Taipei locations visited by Diamond Princess passengers. (Google Maps screenshot)
The CECC also made use of the Public Warning System, which is usually reserved for natural disasters, to send out a message to cellular phones across the island, warning that those who had been near the sites in question on Jan. 31 between 6 a.m. and 5:30 p.m. should keep an eye on their health situation until Feb. 14 and report any fever or respiratory symptoms.
The CDC identified the following as being visited by Diamond Princess passengers that day.
Shifen Old Street
South Gate Market
National Revolutionary Martyrs' Shrine
Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall
Taipei Confucius Temple
Zhongxiao East Road Section 4
Dalongdong Baoan Temple
National Palace Museum
Zhuzihu in Yangmingshan National Park
Grand Hotel Taipei
Qingcao Lane (Herb Lane)
Chung Cheng Park
Keelung Cultural Center
Xian Dong Yan (Fairy Cave)
Zhengbin Fishing Harbor
Miaokou Night Market
New Taipei City:
Jiufen Old Street
Bisha Fishing Port
Guihou Fish Market