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Company executive diagnosed with COVID 87 days after returning to Taiwan

COVID-positive businessman going undetected for 3 months 'raises deep concerns': CECC head

Taipei skyline.

Taipei skyline. (Wikimedia Commons photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — Taiwan's Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) on Wednesday (March 31) confirmed six COVID-19 infections, including an elderly Taiwanese businessman who did not test positive for the virus until 87 days after he had returned to Taiwan.

During a press conference on Wednesday, Health Minister and CECC head Chen Shih-chung (陳時中) announced six imported infections, raising the country's total number to 1,030. The latest cases include two Taiwanese, two Indonesians, one Bangladeshi, and a Myanmar national, bringing the total number of imported cases to 914.

Chen said case No. 1,026 is a Taiwanese man in his 70s who has lived in the U.S. for an extended period of time. He had submitted the negative result of a coronavirus test taken within three days of his flight.

When he returned to Taiwan on Jan. 3 of this year, he did not report any symptoms of the disease. He was sent directly to his residence, where he spent his quarantine alone.

As he was preparing to go overseas, he went to a hospital on March 29 to undergo a coronavirus test at his own expense. On March 31, he was diagnosed with COVID-19.

He was found to have a Ct value of 31 and tested positive for IgM and IgG antibodies, and a test taken the next day yielded a Ct value of 36. The health department has identified 53 contacts in his case.

Of these, 12 have entered home isolation, while 41 have been asked to begin self-health monitoring. A total of 48 of the contacts have been tested for the virus so far, with 17 receiving negative PCR results and the rest awaiting the results of PCR and serum antibody tests.

The CECC head said that this is a "case that raises deep concerns." He said the length of time the man had stayed in Taiwan without being diagnosed was quite long.

Chen stated that an epidemiological investigation is ongoing. CECC Spokesman Chuang Jen-hsiang (莊人祥) said that the man spent has much of his time at his company, where he is a senior executive and has participated in internal meetings.

Chuang said that the CECC believes he contracted the disease overseas but that when he arrived in Taiwan, the virus was not detected. He pointed out that the Ct value of the first test was 31, while the next day it was 36, indicating that "the results are highly variable."