Taiwan's coronavirus cases rise to 169, with 16 new infections

There were three locally transmitted and 13 imported cases on Sunday

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Health Minister Chen Shih-chung.

Health Minister Chen Shih-chung. (CNA photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — Taiwan reported 16 new infections of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19), which originated in the Chinese city of Wuhan, on Sunday (March 22), for a total of 169.

Of the 16 patients to have contracted the viral disease, 13 are imported cases and the other three are local infections. Most of the patients, ranging from 10 to 70 years old, have recently been to Europe, the U.S., the Middle East, and Pacific nations that have reported coronavirus cases.

One of the three locally infected patients, case No. 156, is a caregiver in her 20s serving at two care institutions in the same building. A total of 81 people, including 53 residents and 28 employees from the institutions, tested negative after the caregiver’s infection was confirmed on Saturday (March 21).

The information was passed on by Deputy Health Minister Hsueh Jui-yuan (薛瑞元) at a press conference on Sunday afternoon. He added 14 people who also have had contact with the caregiver are waiting for their test results.

The residents have been moved on to other institutions where they will be cared for separately for two weeks. The 28 employees have been asked to carry out 14-day self-isolation, said Hsueh, adding the institutions would be disinfected.

The caregiver had a fever on March 12 and she went to a doctor three days later. She returned to the hospital on Friday (March 20) and was later tested for the virus, Hsueh said. The origin of infection is not yet known, he added.

The other two locally transmitted cases are both doctorate researchers working with case No. 124, a Taiwanese man in his 30s. Case No. 168 is a German in his 30s, while an Austrian (Case. 169) in her 30s also tested positive for the coronavirus.

It turned out that all three had been infected by their advisor, a Taiwanese in his 50s who has earlier traveled to the U.S., said the Central Epidemic Command Center. The advisor, identified as case No. 160, was the first to have shown symptoms but No. 124 was the first among the four to have been diagnosed, the command center added.

The rest of the latest confirmed cases are Taiwanese who recently arrived from overseas, including a 10-year-old boy returning to Taiwan from the U.K. He was stopped at the airport as he had a fever, fatigue, and coughing.

Among the new cases, five went to a doctor and were given tests, while 10 reported to the authorities after showing symptoms during home quarantine.