Taiwan’s first COVID-19 death confirmed to have come into contact with an infected person

The businessperson reportedly kept coughing while inside the taxi and wore a face mask

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NTU Hospital's Infectious Disease Division professor Chang Shan-chwen (right) and Minister of Health and Welfare Chen Shih-chung 

NTU Hospital's Infectious Disease Division professor Chang Shan-chwen (right) and Minister of Health and Welfare Chen Shih-chung 

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — The first person to have died of COVID-19 in Taiwan was confirmed to have come into contact with an infected Taiwanese businessperson who had recently returned from China’s Zhejiang Province, the Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) said on Thursday (Feb. 20), according to CNA.

National Taiwan University Hospital's Infectious Disease Division professor Chang Shan-chwen (張上淳), who also serves in the CECC, said that when the now-deceased freelance taxi driver in Taichung was confirmed to have contracted the new coronavirus, the effort to find the source of his infection focused on three traced contacts. However, all of them tested negative for the virus.

One of the three contacts was the businessperson. The businessperson reportedly had been coughing for several days before he took the taxi, per CNA. The businessperson reportedly kept coughing while inside the taxi and wore a face mask.

The negative test results did not deter the CECC from looking further into the suspected case. The center went on to screen for antibodies of the virus, which would be proof that an infection had occurred, the news agency reported.

The tests were conducted by both National Taiwan University Medical School and Academia Sinica labs. The test results were revealed on Thursday to be positive, confirming the source of infection for the first fatal case of COVID-19 in Taiwan.