Filipina tests positive for coronavirus after returning from Taiwan

Filipina was asymptomatic during her stay in Taiwan, 21 contacts identified

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Chen Shih-chung. (CDC YouTube screenshot)

Chen Shih-chung. (CDC YouTube screenshot)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — Taiwan's Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) on Wednesday (Aug. 26) announced no new cases of Wuhan coronavirus (COVID-19) but mentioned that a Philippine national who had been working in Taiwan tested positive for the virus upon returning to her home country.

During his weekly press conference on Wednesday, Health Minister and CECC head Chen Shih-chung (陳時中) announced there were no new coronavirus cases, leaving the total number of cases in Taiwan at 487. However, he said that the center was notified about a Philippine citizen who tested positive for the coronavirus after returning from Taiwan.

Chen said that the infected patient is a Filipina in her 30s who came to Taiwan for work on Feb. 27. She left Taiwan on Aug. 19 and was tested for the virus when she arrived at an airport in the Philippines.

On Aug. 21, the woman was confirmed to have contracted COVID-19. Chen said the CECC was later notified of the infection via one of the World Health Organization's National IHR Focal Points.

According to the CECC, the woman was asymptomatic during her stay in Taiwan and has yet to develop symptoms in the Philippines. The health department has identified 21 persons who recently came in contact with the woman while she was still in Taiwan, including coworkers and roommates.

Of the 21 identified, 20 have been told to begin home isolation, while one has been asked to begin self-health monitoring. All 21 contacts have undergone polymerase chain reaction (PCR) tests for the virus, two of which have come back negative, while the rest await the results.

As for the case of a Taiwanese woman who tested positive for the coronavirus after flying to Shanghai, Chen said that when she arrived in the Chinese megacity on Aug. 15, she was tested for COVID-19. The results came back negative.

She was then dispatched to a hotel to commence quarantine. However, on Aug. 21, she started to experience a sore throat, so she was tested again for the virus on Aug. 22.

The result of the second test was positive, and on Aug. 23 she was transferred to a hospital isolation ward for treatment. On Aug. 24, the CECC was notified by Chinese authorities that the woman had tested positive for COVID-19.

The health department has identified 14 people who recently came in contact with the woman in Taiwan. They have since undergone PCR examinations and tests for coronavirus antibodies.

As the results for all 14 have been negative for both tests, they are not required to undergo home isolation but have been advised to begin self-health monitoring.

The CECC on Wednesday did not announce any new reports of people with suspected symptoms. Since the outbreak began, Taiwan has carried out 86,419 COVID-19 tests, with 85,346 coming back negative.

Out of the 487 confirmed cases, 395 were imported, 55 were local, 36 came from the Navy's "Goodwill Fleet," and one has yet to be clarified. Up until now, seven individuals have succumbed to the disease, while 462 have been released from hospital isolation, leaving 18 patients still undergoing treatment in Taiwan.