Filipino man tests positive for coronavirus after starting work in Taiwan

Taiwan reports 3 imported coronavirus cases from Philippines, Indonesia

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Health workers pray as a Catholic priest blesses the COVID19 swab test area of a hospital in Manila, Philippines on Thursday, Aug. 6, 2020.

Health workers pray as a Catholic priest blesses the COVID19 swab test area of a hospital in Manila, Philippines on Thursday, Aug. 6, 2020. (AP photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — Taiwan's Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) on Monday (Sept. 28) announced three new imported cases of Wuhan coronavirus (COVID-19), including a Filipino man who was diagnosed with the disease after he had already started work in Taiwan.

During a press conference on Monday, CECC Spokesman Chuang Jen-hsiang (莊人祥) announced three new imported coronavirus infections, raising the total number of cases in Taiwan to 513. The new cases include a Filipino male in his 20s (Case No. 511), a Filipino male in his 40s (Case No. 512), and a Taiwanese male in his 40s (Case No. 513).

Chuang stated that Case No. 511 flew from the Philippines to Taiwan for work on Sept. 11 and his test result for the coronavirus upon arrival was negative. He was asymptomatic throughout his quarantine and on Sept. 26, the day his stay in quarantine was set to end, he was tested again for the virus.

On Sept. 28, he tested positive for COVID-19 and was placed in a hospital isolation ward. As he had gone directly to work in his place of employment after being tested on Sept. 26, the health department immediately began contact tracing.

A total of 39 people have been identified as having come in contact with Case No. 511. This includes people that came in contact with him in vehicles, his dormitory, and the restaurants he visited.

Of these contacts, 13 have been told to begin home isolation, while 26 have been asked to undergo self-health monitoring.

According to Chuang, Case No. 512 came to Taiwan from the Philippines on Sept. 23 for work and had no symptoms when he arrived in the country. However, because the result of his test for the coronavirus was a "weak positive," the test was readministered on Sept. 26.

He was confirmed to have COVID-19 on Sept. 28 and has been placed in a hospital isolation ward. The health department has identified 63 people who came in contact with the man, including colleagues and passengers on his flight to Taiwan.

Of these contacts, 48 have been told to begin home isolation, while 15 have been asked to start self-health monitoring.

Chuang said that Case No. 513 went to Indonesia for work in late July of this year. On Sept. 19, due to symptoms including fatigue, diarrhea, and abdominal pain, he sought local medical treatment as he was diagnosed with a gastric ulcer.

The man returned to Taiwan on Sept. 26 and when he arrived at the airport, he proactively told quarantine officers that he had been suffering from suspected symptoms of the coronavirus. Quarantine staff then tested him for the coronavirus.

On Sept. 28, he tested positive for COVID-19 and was placed in a hospital isolation ward. The health department has identified a total of 41 contacts who were on the same flight to Taiwan as Case No. 513, including 29 passengers who sat directly in front of or behind him and 12 crew members.

The 29 passengers have been told to begin home isolation, while 12 crew members are being asked to commence self-health monitoring.

The CECC on Monday did not announce any new reports of people with suspected symptoms. Since the outbreak began, Taiwan has carried out 93,181 COVID-19 tests, with 92,108 coming back negative.

Out of the 513 confirmed cases, 421 were imported, 55 were local, 36 came from the Navy's "Goodwill Fleet," and one was the undetermined case of a Belgian engineer who arrived in early May to work on a wind farm project in Changhua County. Up until now, seven individuals have succumbed to the disease, while 482 have been released from hospital isolation, leaving only 24 patients still undergoing treatment in Taiwan.