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Taiwan reports 8 COVID cases imported from Oman, Philippines, Egypt, and Vietnam

Latest cases include 3 Taiwanese citizens, 3 Filipino migrant workers, and 2 Chinese fishery workers

CECC Spokesman Chuang Jen-hsiang. 

CECC Spokesman Chuang Jen-hsiang.  (CNA photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — Taiwan's Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) on Thursday (March 18) confirmed eight COVID-19 infections imported from Oman, the Philippines, Egypt, and Vietnam.

During a press conference on Thursday, CECC Spokesman Chuang Jen-hsiang (莊人祥) announced eight imported infections, raising the country's total number of cases to 998. The latest cases include three Taiwanese citizens, three Filipino migrant workers, and two Chinese fishery workers.

Each had submitted the negative result of a coronavirus test taken within three days of their flight, and each was sent directly to their residence or a quarantine center upon arrival in Taiwan.

Chuang said that case No. 992 is a Taiwanese male in his 30s who had traveled to Oman for work on Feb. 1 and returned on March 5. He began to experience an itchy throat, cough, and abnormal sense of smell on March 14.

He then developed a fever, prompting the health department to arrange for a coronavirus test for him on March 16. He was diagnosed two days later.

Since he had been in quarantine two days before the onset of symptoms and because those who interacted with him had worn proper protective equipment, no contacts have been listed in his case.

Chuang pointed out that cases 993, 994, and 995 were one male and two female Filipino migrant workers in their 30s. As their quarantines were set to expire, they underwent coronavirus tests on March 16 and were diagnosed March 18.

Since all three are asymptomatic and did not interact with others during their quarantine, no contacts have been listed.

Cases 996 and 997 are Taiwanese women in their 40s who went to Egypt to attend a funeral on March 5 of this year, according to Chuang. Case No. 996 experienced a cough, sore throat, fatigue, vomiting, diarrhea, and fever from March 10-15.

Case No. 997 experienced nasal congestion, a cough, and diarrhea from March 13-16. Neither sought local medical treatment. When the two returned to Taiwan on March 16, they were stopped by the airport fever screening station and notified quarantine officers that they had been experiencing symptoms of the disease.

Case No. 996 reported severe symptoms, while case No. 997's symptoms were mild. Both underwent coronavirus tests at the airport and were diagnosed on March 18. An investigation of their contacts on the flight to Taiwan is underway.

Chuang stated that cases 998 and 999 are male Chinese fishery workers in their 30s. They most recently departed from Taiwan in December of 2019.

Before returning to Taiwan, their ship had anchored in two ports in Vietnam from Jan. 4 to Feb. 3 of this year. They arrived in Taiwan on Feb. 8 and went to an epidemic prevention hotel to undergo quarantine until Feb. 22.

On Feb. 23, they started self-health monitoring aboard their ship. However, on Feb. 26 they were listed as a contact of case No. 954, an Indonesian fishery worker.

Therefore, they were told to undergo home isolation followed by self-health monitoring. Since they are planning on returning to China, they rode a special vehicle to a hospital to undergo coronavirus tests at their own expense.

They were diagnosed with COVID-19 on March 18, but both remain asymptomatic. The health department has identified six contacts in their cases, four of whom are members of their fishing crew, and two are epidemic prevention vehicle drivers.

The four fellow crew members tested negative for the virus and have left the country. The drivers have only been asked to self-health monitor, as they were deemed to have worn adequate protection.

Since the outbreak began, Taiwan has carried out 183,027 COVID-19 tests, with 180,651 coming back negative. Out of the 998 officially confirmed cases, 882 were imported, 77 were local, 36 came from the Navy's "Goodwill Fleet," two were from a cargo pilot cluster, one was an unresolved case, and one (case No. 530) was removed as a confirmed case.

Up until now, 10 individuals have succumbed to the disease, while 958 have been released from hospital isolation, leaving 30 patients still undergoing treatment in Taiwan.