Taiwan confirms 2 more Wuhan coronavirus cases, bringing total to 44

43rd case is woman in her 50s who sat opposite 39th case in flower arrangement class

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(CNA photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — The Taiwan Centers for Disease Control (CDC) has confirmed two more COVID-19 cases on Thursday (March 5), bringing the total number in the country to 44, the center said in a press release.

The 43rd case is a woman in her 50s who lives in northern Taiwan and has no recent history of travel to countries with large-scale infections, according to the CDC. However, on Feb. 24 and 25, she attended the same flower arrangement class as the 39th confirmed case, sitting right across from the soon-to-be patient.

Before being diagnosed, the woman had a fever and sore throat, which led to her hospitalization and subsequent isolation, according to the release. Her test, which she underwent March 4, came back positive the following day.

Family members who live with the woman have all been screened and who no symptoms of the coronavirus. The authorities will continue to comb through her recent contacts for possible cases of community transmission.

The 44th case traveled to the Philippines with a companion in late February. After suffering from diarrhea in that country on March 2 — as well as a dry throat and fatigue upon returning to Taiwan on March 3 — the individual went to see a doctor on March 4 and tested positive for the disease.

The patient is currently isolated in a ward with negative pressure ventilation, the statement said, adding that none of the case’s contacts have shown relevant symptoms. Authorities believe the 44th case became ill overseas and are in the process of tracing itineraries and contacts in order to carry out additional screenings.

With regard to a male foreign traveler who tested positive for the disease in Australia after leaving Taiwan on March 2, the CDC said it is very likely the virus was contracted earlier in another country. The center is actively investigating the person's travel history in Taiwan between Feb. 23 and March 2.

Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) Commander Chen Shih-chung (陳時中) confirmed at a press conference on Thursday night that the man is a foreign musician and that after entering Taiwan on Feb. 23, he participated in performances at Taipei's National Concert Hall on Feb. 28 and National Recital Hall on March 1.

Eight reporters and 21 orchestra members who might have come into contact with the foreign musician will be placed in quarantine, reports said.