Filipino diagnosed with COVID-19 in Hong Kong after transferring from Taiwan

CECC spokesman says very likely Filipino woman became infected in Philippines

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(CNA photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — Taiwan's Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) said on Sunday (July 6) that the Filipino caregiver who was diagnosed with COVID-19 in Hong Kong after transferring flights in Taiwan most likely contracted the disease in the Philippines.

Reports citing Hong Kong sources said the Filipino woman was diagnosed with COVID-19 after transferring flights in Taiwan. In response, CECC spokesman Chuang Jen-hsiang (莊人祥) told media that the Filipino woman, in her 30s, flew from the Philippines to Taipei and transferred to a flight to Hong Kong on Friday (July 3).

She was tested for COVID-19 when she entered Hong Kong. The results came out positive on Saturday, Chuang added.

As a usual practice, Hong Kong will notify the country from which a newly confirmed COVID-19 case took a flight into the city. Taiwan received the notification on Saturday afternoon, and according to Chuang, it is the first confirmed COVID-19 case who transferred through an airport in Taiwan.

As the patient is not Taiwanese, Hong Kong provided only sketchy information, which did not include her passport number and flight details. Taiwan is in the process of verifying relevant information with Hong Kong; however, as Taiwan has assigned special staff to help international travelers transfer — and the staff always wear personal protective equipment — the CECC will assess whether it is necessary to trace the contacts of the Filipino woman and require them to quarantine at home.

The spokesman said that it is very likely the individual became infected in the Philippines, as Taiwan's regulations do not allow flight transfers to take more than eight hours. He added that she tested positive for COVID-19 right after she arrived in Hong Kong, indicating that it is likely her infection did not occur in Taiwan.