Taiwan's coronavirus cases rise to 252 with 17 new infections

15 of Taiwan's Wuhan coronavirus cases imported, 2 locally transmitted

CECC expert Chang Shang-chun. (YouTube, CDC screenshot)

CECC expert Chang Shang-chun. (YouTube, CDC screenshot)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — Taiwan's Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) on Thursday (March 26) announced 17 more confirmed cases of Wuhan coronavirus (COVID-19), bringing the total to 252.

During a press conference on Thursday afternoon, Health Minister and CECC head Chen Shih-chung (陳時中) announced 17 new cases of COVID-19, all but two of which were imported. Out of the latest batch of imported cases, the largest number came from the U.K., said Chen.

As for the two domestic cases (No. 246 and No. 247), No. 246 was a male in his 60s who lives with No. 209, who had recently returned from the U.S. The man did not present any symptoms, but after he was found to have come into contact with No. 209, he tested positive for the disease.

Case No. 247 is a female in her 40s who lives in the same household as No. 228, who had recently returned from the Netherlands. She became ill on March 23 and was diagnosed after seeking medical treatment and being tested for the disease.

Chen said that among the 15 imported cases, seven are women and eight are men, and they are between the ages of 20 and 60. Their date of entry into the country ranged between March 16 and 23, while the date of the onset of the disease ranged from March 11-23.

Prior to testing positive, the individuals had recently logged trips to the U.S., UK, Australia, Chile, Argentina, New Zealand, Qatar, Spain, Malaysia, Monaco, Mexico, the Philippines, the Czech Republic, and the South Pole. Out of this group, the most visited country was the U.K., with six confirmed cases having recently traveled there.

As for new imported cases associated with the currently known clusters, No. 248 visited Spain with a tour group from March 12-20. Two other members of the Spain trip, No. 170 and 189, tested positive for the virus on March 23.

Case No. 248 was asymptomatic but because the individual was associated with the tour group that visited Spain, they too were tested. That tour group cluster now has three cases.

The remaining 14 cases were unrelated to previously reported infections. Most of them had been abroad for school or work, while others had been traveling as tourists or to visit relatives.

No. 237, a Taiwanese man in his 50s, had traveled to a long list of countries and continents, including Antarctica. His dizzying itinerary from Feb. 19 to March 19 included Chile, Argentina, the U.S., Qatar, and a transit flight through Bangkok before he developed symptoms on March 23 and tested positive on March 25.

There were no foreign nationals among Thursday's newly confirmed cases.