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Taiwan reports 2 imported coronavirus cases from US

Taiwanese woman tests positive for COVID-19 one day after relative

Nurses swab patients during testing for COVID-19.

Nurses swab patients during testing for COVID-19. (AP photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — Taiwan's Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) on Friday (Dec. 18) announced two new cases of Wuhan coronavirus imported from the U.S.

During a press conference on Friday, CECC Spokesman Chuang Jen-hsiang (莊人祥) announced two imported COVID-19 infections, raising Taiwan's total to 759. The latest cases are both Taiwanese women who recently returned from the U.S.

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.

Chuang said that Case No. 759 is a 50-year-old woman who is a family member of Case No. 752, who was announced on Thursday (Dec. 17). The two returned to Taiwan from the U.S. on Nov. 30 to visit relatives.

After Case No. 752 tested positive for the virus, the woman was listed as a contact. After further investigation, the woman was found to have been suffering symptoms such as an itchy throat, cough, and sputum since Dec. 4 and had not improved.

Therefore, health department officials arranged for her to undergo a test for the coronavirus and she tested positive for COVID-19 on Dec. 18. As the onset of her symptoms did not occur until two days after quarantine began and because all 19 passengers who sat near her safely completed their quarantines, no contacts for her case have been listed.

According to Chuang, Case No. 760 is a woman in her 30s who went to the U.S. on Dec. 12 for work and returned to Taiwan on Dec. 16. That same day, she developed a cough, runny nose, body ache, fever, and other symptoms.

The health department arranged for her to undergo a test for the coronavirus and she was diagnosed with COVID-19 on Dec. 18. The health department has listed nine people who came in contact with the woman, all of whom are colleagues who flew together with her.

One of her colleagues experienced a cough during the flight and did not wear a mask, while the rest of the coworkers reportedly wore masks. The health department is currently making arrangements to test the colleagues for the virus and will continue with its contact tracing investigation for the case.

Taiwan's CECC on Friday did not announce any new reports of people with suspected symptoms. Since the outbreak began, Taiwan has carried out 118,585 COVID-19 tests, with 116,300 coming back negative.

Out of the 759 confirmed cases, 667 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 619 have been released from hospital isolation, leaving 133 patients still undergoing treatment in Taiwan.