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Cram school teacher tests positive for Covid 122 days after returning to Taiwan

10 Taiwan contacts have been listed for Covid-positive cram school teacher who went undiagnosed for 4 months

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File photo of building with typical cram schools seen in Taiwan. (Flickr photo)

File photo of building with typical cram schools seen in Taiwan. (Flickr photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — Taiwan's Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) on Thursday (March 25) confirmed three imported COVID-19 infections, including a Taiwanese cram school teacher who did not test positive for the virus until four months after he returned to Taiwan.

During a press conference on Friday, CECC Spokesman Chuang Jen-hsiang (莊人祥) announced three imported infections, which means the country has now reached 1,012 cases. The latest cases were imported from the Philippines and the U.S., raising the total number of imported cases to 896.

Chuang said that Case No. 1011 is a male Filipino migrant worker in his 20s who came to Taiwan for work on March 2. As his quarantine was set to expire, he took a coronavirus test on March 15 and the results were negative.

When his quarantine ended on March 17, his company transported him to a dormitory to undergo his self-health monitoring phase. On March 23, the company arranged for him to undergo a self-paid coronavirus test at a hospital.

The test came back positive and he was diagnosed with COVID-19 on March 25. Since he is asymptomatic and the medical personnel who interacted with him wore proper protective equipment, no contacts have been listed in his case.

Case No. 1012 is a Taiwanese man in his 20s who is reportedly a cram school teacher and went to the U.S. for work on Nov. 19, 2020. He then returned to Taiwan on a flight that connected through South Korea on Nov. 22 of that year and did not report experiencing any symptoms of the virus.

The CECC did not state whether he had provided the negative results of a test taken within three days of his flight. When he arrived, Taiwanese citizens and foreign residents were exempt from such tests, which were not made mandatory for all arriving passengers until Dec. 1 of that year.

When arrived in Taiwan, he did not report having any symptoms of the virus and went directly to an epidemic prevention hotel to undergo quarantine.

Because he was planning to travel abroad again, the man went to a hospital to undergo a coronavirus test on March 23 of this year at his own expense. The test came back positive and he was diagnosed with COVID-19 on March 25, a full 122 days since he had returned to Taiwan.

His Ct value was found to be 36. A nucleic acid test taken on March 24 came back negative but was found to be positive for both IgM and IgG antibodies.

The CECC speculates that it has been a long period of time since Case No. 1012 had been infected. Therefore, the center postulates that the odds that the man had been infected in the U.S. were higher than in Taiwan.

The health department has identified 10 contacts in his case, one of whom is living with him and has been told to enter home isolation. The other nine contacts are relatives and friends who do not live with him and have been asked to start self-health monitoring.

Of the 10 contacts, seven have undergone nucleic acid and serum antibody tests. Thus far, four have received negative results, while the other three are awaiting the results of the tests.

The CECC is conducting an epidemiological investigation into how he was infected and other potential contacts in Taiwan, including colleagues and students. Chuang pointed out that this was by far the longest gap between entering Taiwan and being diagnosed at a total of 122 days.

The second-longest gap was Case No. 939, which was not diagnosed until 82 days after arriving in Taiwan.

Chuang stated that Case No. 1013 is a Filipino female in her 30s who came to Taiwan for work on March 16. While in quarantine, she began to experience a headache, cough, and sore throat on March 22.

She underwent a coronavirus test on March 24 and tested positive for COVID-19 on March 25. As she had been in quarantine for two days before the onset of the illness and did not interact with others, no contacts have been listed in her case.

Since the outbreak began, Taiwan has carried out 186,010 COVID-19 tests, with 184,212 coming back negative. Out of the 1,012 officially confirmed cases, 896 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 971 have been released from hospital isolation, leaving 31 patients still undergoing treatment in Taiwan.