TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — Taiwan's Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) on Tuesday (Jan. 20) announced that one member of a coronavirus cluster infection associated with the Taoyuan General Hospital not only worked at a MOS Burger for three days while contagious but also visited a McDonalds for a late-night snack on Saturday night (Jan. 16).
On Tuesday (Jan. 19), CECC head Chen Shih-chung (陳時中) announced a preliminary list of locations where three cases from a cluster of infections tied to Taoyuan General Hospital had traveled while potentially COVID positive. The three cases include Case No. 863, a nurse who works at the same hospital as Case No. 838, a physician who was the first person in the cluster, along with her husband (Case No. 864) and her daughter (Case No. 865).
Since this meant the family cluster infection had branched off from the hospital cluster into the community, the health department immediately launched an epidemic investigation. On Wednesday, the CECC revealed the complete history of activities in public places in Taoyuan during the contagious period for Case Nos. 863, 864, and 865.
The couple's daughter, who is in her 20s, worked from Jan. 16 to 18 from 9:30 a.m. to 9 p.m. at a fast food restaurant in Taoyuan City's Guishan District. The eatery has been identified as the MOS Burger fast food restaurant inside the National Taiwan Sport University Station of the Taoyuan Airport MRT on Wenhua 1st Road in Taoyuan's Guishan District.
In addition, after finishing her shift at MOS Burger on Jan. 16, the young woman stopped by a Mcdonalds on Sanmin Road, Section 3 in Taoyuan City's Taoyuan District from 9:10 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. In response to the news, McDonald's Taiwan issued a statement on Wednesday in which it said that it was informed by the Taoyuan Health Department on Jan. 18 that a person confirmed to have coronavirus had visited the restaurant to order a takeout meal.
In addition to strengthening cleaning in accordance with the "key points for restaurant epidemic prevention" before closing, the restaurant was disinfected after work hours and shut its doors at 3:30 p.m. on Wednesday "to ensure the environmental hygiene and the safety and health of employees and customers."
After receiving notice from the Health Department, 12 employees who were found to have worked at the restaurant from 9:10 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. on Jan. 16 were told to immediately begin self-health monitoring for 14 to 31 days. During this period, in addition to cooperating with the Taoyuan Health Department on the restaurant epidemic investigation and health education, the operation supervisor will continue to monitor the staff members, and McDonald's occupational safety and health management department will provide independent health management education and necessary assistance.
The fast food chain added that in order to follow the central government's policy, in addition to spacing out seats in the dining area, McDonald's restaurants in Taiwan will also put up posters on the entrance to strengthen epidemic prevention publicity. Customers are encouraged to wear masks when queueing up, wash their hands frequently, and maintain a social distance. At the same time, noncash payments are welcome to facilitate epidemic prevention efforts.
People who have been in the identified places during the listed times are reminded to carefully monitor their own health. If any persons who visited these places experience symptoms, they are advised to wear a medical mask and seek medical attention as soon as possible and to be sure to avoid taking public transportation.
When meeting with medical professionals, patients should be prepared to inform them of their contact and travel history, occupational exposure, and whether there were other people around them when symptoms arose. After consulting with a physician, be sure to wear a mask on the way home, avoid going out, and keep a distance of at least a meter from others.
Persons who suspect that they have symptoms of COVID-19 should call the toll-free epidemic prevention hotline 1922 or 0800-001922.
List of locations where the three cases visited. (CECC image)