TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — Taiwan's Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) on Thursday (Dec. 17) announced that four out of the eight new cases of Wuhan coronavirus are members of the Moscow Ballet dance troupe originally scheduled to perform this week.
During a press conference on Thursday afternoon, health minister and CECC head Chen Shih-chung (陳時中) announced eight new imported coronavirus cases, raising the total number of cases in Taiwan to 757. The latest include four Russians, two Taiwanese, one American, and one Indonesian.
Each had submitted negative results of tests taken within three days of their flight, and each was sent directly to an epidemic hotel upon arrival in Taiwan.
Chen said Case No. 751 is an Indonesian female migrant worker in her 40s who came to Taiwan for employment on Dec. 2. Although she did not report any symptoms, she was tested for the coronavirus on Dec. 4, and the results came back negative
As her quarantine was ending on Dec. 15, she was tested again. On Dec. 17, she was diagnosed with COVID-19, but because she has been asymptomatic throughout and did not come in contact with others, the health department has not deemed it necessary to carry out contact tracing.
Case No. 752 is a Taiwanese male in his 70s who has been living in the U.S. for an extended period of time, with his most recent departure from Taiwan being in March of this year. On Nov. 30, he and a family member took a flight back to Taiwan to visit relatives, arriving on Dec. 2.
He developed a cough and sore throat between Dec. 5 and 8 and lost his sense of smell on Dec. 13. On Dec. 15, he notified the health department of his symptoms and underwent a test for the coronavirus.
He tested positive on Dec. 17. The member of his family who was with him on the flight has been listed as his sole contact.
Due to the fact that his itchy throat, cough, and sputum have not improved since Dec. 5, the family member has also undergone a test and is awaiting the results.
Chen stated that Case No. 753 is a female Taiwanese citizen in her 60s who went to the U.S. for work in June of 2019. She returned to Taiwan on Dec. 9.
On Dec. 10, she developed a sore throat, and because she began to suffer suspicious symptoms, including coughing and loss of appetite, the health department arranged for her to be tested. She was diagnosed with COVID-19 on Dec. 17, and the health department has identified 27 contacts.
Among the contacts are 16 passengers who had sat in the two rows directly in front of and behind her and 11 members of the flight crew. The passengers have been told to begin home isolation, while the crew members have only been asked to start self-health monitoring, as they were deemed to have worn adequate protective gear.
Case No. 754 is an American male in his 50s who holds a Taiwan residence permit. In December of last year, he went to the U.S. for work and returned on Nov. 29 of this year.
He did not experience any symptoms during his quarantine, which ended Dec. 14. The next day, he went to a hospital to undergo a coronavirus test at his own expense.
On Dec. 17, he was diagnosed with COVID-19. The health department has identified the driver of a vehicle he had recently ridden in as his sole contact.
Since both he and the driver wore masks throughout the journey, the health department has only asked the latter to begin self-health monitoring.
As for Cases 755 through 758, Chen said that they are Russian nationals and members of the same ballet troupe as Cases 745 through 748. The four new cases from the Moscow Classical Ballet include three women and one man ranging in age from their 20s to their 30s.
They entered Taiwan on Nov. 29 and have been asymptomatic ever since. Due to the fact that four other members of the group had tested positive, the CECC carried out tests on the remaining 47 members on Wednesday (Dec. 16), and four more tested positive.
Now that eight members of the troupe have tested positive for the virus, the remaining 43 members are considered contacts and have been told to begin quarantining at home. In order to ensure the rights and interests of the audience, the CECC has notified the organizer of the ballet performances to cancel all remaining shows in Taiwan.
The ballet troupe was originally scheduled to perform Tchaikovsky's "Swan Lake" and "The Nutcracker" at the National Theater in Taipei from Dec. 16 to 20 and the National Kaohsiung Center for the Arts in Kaohsiung from Dec. 25 to 27. The organizer apologized to ticket buyers for any inconvenience caused as a result of the cancelations.
Taiwan's CECC on Thursday did not announce any new reports of people with suspected symptoms. Since the outbreak began, Taiwan has carried out 117,794 COVID-19 tests, with 115,727 coming back negative.
Out of the 757 confirmed cases, 665 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 616 have been released from hospital isolation, leaving 134 patients still being treated in Taiwan.