Taiwan confirms 2 imported coronavirus cases from US, Philippines

Total number of COVID-19 cases in Taiwan since start of pandemic reaches 550

Plastic sheets to protect against the coronavirus at a market in Quezon City, Philippines 

Plastic sheets to protect against the coronavirus at a market in Quezon City, Philippines  (AP photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — A woman worker from the Philippines and a Taiwanese man returning from the United States tested positive for the Wuhan coronavirus (COVID-19), bringing Taiwan’s total number of patients up to 550, the Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) announced Saturday (Oct. 24).

Case No. 549 is a Filipina in her 20s who arrived in Taiwan on Sept. 30, the Liberty Times reported. She was tested twice, once during the first three days of her quarantine and once near the end, but both tests turned out negative.

Her broker arranged for her to self-monitor her health in isolation at a dormitory after the official 14-day quarantine period had elapsed. However, a test at a hospital on Oct. 22 arranged by the broker resulted in a positive result on Saturday.

A total of 12 people had been in contact with the woman, including three drivers and several colleagues. Six had been wearing masks, while six others tested negative but have been asked to isolate at home because they did not wear masks at the time.

Case No. 550 is a Taiwanese man in his 30s who was in the U.S. from Oct. 2-18, the CECC said. While isolating at home on Oct. 21, he developed symptoms of the virus including coughing, fever, muscle pain, and fatigue.

As the man had spent his time since his return to Taiwan alone at home, no contacts were listed, according to the CECC. The patient is currently in quarantine at a hospital.

The country’s death toll from the pandemic remains at seven, with the most recent death occurring in May. A total of 458 cases were imported, 55 local, 36 originated from the Taiwan Navy’s "Goodwill Fleet," and one case was not classified as local or imported.

As of Saturday, a total of 41 patients were still being cared for at hospitals, with 502 having been released from care, according to the latest CECC statistics.