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Taiwan reports Turkish flight attendant infected with Covid

Indonesian woman spotted at airport with high fever tests positive for coronavirus

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Stock image of workers spraying disinfectant in aircraft cabin.

Stock image of workers spraying disinfectant in aircraft cabin. (AP photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — Taiwan's Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) on Thursday (Nov. 19) announced two new cases of Wuhan coronavirus (COVID-19) imported from Turkey and Indonesia.

During a press conference on Thursday, CECC Spokesman Chuang Jen-hsiang (莊人祥) announced two new imported coronavirus cases, raising the total number of confirmed cases in Taiwan to 610. The latest cases include a Turkish woman in her 20s (Case No. 609) and an Indonesian woman in her 20s (Case No. 610).

According to Chuang, Case No. 609 is a flight attendant for a foreign airline. She was on duty on a flight from Turkey to Taiwan that arrived on Nov. 10.

After arriving in Taiwan, she checked into an epidemic prevention hotel. She was originally scheduled to take a return flight to Turkey on Nov. 13.

However, she began to experience a muscle ache and a fever on Nov. 12. The next day, her airline contacted the health department to assist in diagnosis and treatment.

The health department then notified the Centers for Disease Control and arranged for her to be tested for the coronavirus on Nov. 16.

She was diagnosed with COVID-19 on Nov. 19 and was placed in a hospital isolation ward. The health department has identified 23 persons who came in contact with the woman, including healthcare workers, airline employees, and quarantine hotel staff.

As the CECC deemed that they had been wearing adequate personal protective equipment (PPE), they have only been asked to begin self-health monitoring. The health center is also investigating the identities of fellow crew members on her most recent flight and the passengers who were on board.

Chuang said that Case No. 610 came to Taiwan for work on Nov. 17 and was pulled aside by quarantine officers when they detected that she had an abnormally high body temperature when she entered the country. The woman informed the quarantine officers that she had experienced symptoms such as fatigue, body aches, and abdominal discomfort while aboard the plane.

She was tested for the coronavirus at the airport that day and was diagnosed with COVID-19 on Nov. 19. The health department has identified a total of 32 people who came in contact with the woman.

Of the 32 contacts, 23 were passengers who sat in the two rows directly in front of and behind Case No. 610. Since her diagnosis, they have been told to undergo home isolation.

Taiwan reports Turkish flight attendant infected with Covid
Location where Case No. 610 sat. (CECC image)

In addition, there were nine crew members on the flight. As they wore adequate protection, they have only been asked to start self-health monitoring.

The CECC on Thursday did not announce any new reports of people with suspected symptoms. Since the outbreak began, Taiwan has carried out 106,576 COVID-19 tests, with 105,091 coming back negative.

Out of the 609 officially confirmed cases, 517 were imported, 55 were local, 36 came from the Navy's "Goodwill Fleet," one is an unresolved case, and one (Case No. 530) was removed as a confirmed case. Up until now, seven individuals have succumbed to the disease, while 545 have been released from hospital isolation, leaving 57 patients still undergoing treatment in Taiwan.

Turkey reports 425,628 COVID-19 cases and 11,820 deaths. Indonesia has recorded 478,720 coronavirus cases and 15,503 deaths.