TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — Amid fears that Taiwan could be facing a new cluster outbreak of the Wuhan coronavirus (COVID-19), the Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) reported on Wednesday (July 29) that none of the 189 people who came in contact with an infected Thai migrant worker tested positive for the virus.
On Monday (July 27) news broke that a migrant worker residing in northern Taiwan who returned to Thailand was diagnosed with COVID-19 on July 25. The man had entered Taiwan on Jan. 17, 2018, and departed the country on July 21 of this year, without leaving at any point between those dates, according to the CECC.
After being notified of the man's infection by Thai health officials, the CECC traced 189 people who recently came in contact with him. The recent contacts include 18 people in his dormitory, 11 employees at the factory where he worked, and 160 other employees of the company in northern Taiwan.
During his weekly press conference on Wednesday afternoon, Minister of Health and Welfare and CECC head Chen Shih-chung (陳時中) said that the nucleic acid and serum antibody tests for all 189 people known to have come in contact with the man in Taiwan have come back negative. Chen says that based on the test results, there does not appear to have been any transmission of the disease at the Taoyuan factory, and the source of his infection is still under investigation.
Chen said his understanding is that the Thai worker's test result is a "weak positive." He added that he is now communicating with his counterparts in Thailand about having the man tested a second time.
On Tuesday (July 28), The Taoyuan City Government announced that all relevant units were on high alert. The epidemic prevention and disinfection unit of the Environmental Protection Administration dispatched two vehicles and seven disinfection personnel to Xinwu District in the afternoon to carry out comprehensive disinfection of the factory area.
In response to a notice circulated online by a factory warning people not to go to the "Taoyuan Area" in order to avoid the risk of infection, Taoyuan City officials said everyone who had come in contact with the worker has been placed in a quarantine center and that the factory area has been disinfected, reported TVBS. They urged the public not to panic.
Beyond the factory and his dormitory, the CECC says that the only other location in Taoyuan that the Thai patient is believed to have recently visited was a shopping mall, where he went shopping with his girlfriend on his day off. The CECC is still tracing the man's recent movements in the city.