TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — A Taiwanese couple claims that they have contracted the new mutant coronavirus strain that is circulating around the UK despite having rarely ventured out or interacted with others while in that country.
A new strain of the virus, identified as B.1.1.7, has risen in the UK and been found to be up to 70 percent more transmissible than the version that emerged in Wuhan, China, last year. Many areas of the country, including London, have entered the highest alert level, with over 60 percent of cases due to the new variant of the virus.
On Monday (Dec. 21), a Taiwanese netizen living in West London wrote on popular Taiwanese online forum PTT that he and his wife had been following the news about the coronavirus mutating in southern England and London. He said they had been patting themselves on the back for avoiding infection by wearing masks, using disinfectant wipes, and staying out of the office for nearly a year.
However, he said that one evening, his wife developed a fever of 39 degrees Celsius. He took her to a nearby hospital for a blood test, and the doctor stated, "Based on your index, it appears to be Covid. Take care."
The poster said the two of them could not figure out how they had been infected, as they had been secluded at home for many months. In order to confirm the COVID-19 diagnosis, they took leave from their jobs the next day and went to a drive-thru COVID-19.
Within 48 hours, the test confirmed that both had COVID-19, and they were given brief instructions by the National Health Service (NHS), which included self-isolating at home, taking antipyretic medication in the event of fever, and drinking more water. He wrote that by the fourth day after diagnosis, they were getting less than three hours of sleep a night because of their high fevers.
Porridge that the two are subsisting on. (PTT photo)
The man reported that they have slowly begun to lose their sense of taste and that his sense of smell has become "strange." He stated that he is constantly smelling the odor of sweat.
Thinking that the smell was the result of sweating in his clothes due to fever, he bathed several times and changed his clothes. However, the smell lingered.
He speculated that the peculiar olfactory symptom was caused by the newly mutated version of the virus. He said that his wife has continued to suffer a fever of 39 degrees and that she told him to "take good care of her parents" if anything happens to her.
Too weak to cook, he says they subsist on porridge every day. He closed by criticizing those who are complaining about the cancelation of Christmas in London, saying, "I can only say that they don't know the power of this new virus and I hope that the British will accept reality and hunker down in their homes."
When asked to comment on the claims of the Taiwanese couple at a press conference on Monday (Dec. 21), Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) Spokesman Chuang Jen-hsiang (莊人祥) said the center has not yet confirmed whether they indeed have that strain of the virus. It is also not yet known how the two were infected, Chuang said.