TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — The Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) on Wednesday (April 21) announced that the list of contacts of two cargo pilots who were diagnosed with COVID-19 the previous day has risen to 168.
At a press conference on Wednesday, Health Minister and CECC head Chen Shih-chung (陳時中) announced that the list of contacts for the two cargo pilots has been expanded from 131 to 168. Of these contacts, 143 have undergone coronavirus tests, and 132 have received negative results.
According to the CECC, case Nos. 1,078 and 1,079 are Taiwanese men in their 50s and 60s who are members of an air cargo carrier's flight crew. Of case No. 1,078's 29 contacts, 11 have been tested, two were negative, nine are awaiting their results, and 18 have yet to be tested.
Of case No. 1,079's 139 contacts, 130 have tested negative, two are being tested, and four are awaiting their results. Three others are employees of an epidemic prevention hotel, and because they wore adequate protective gear, testing was not deemed necessary in their case.
On April 14, the two men flew to the U.S. along with another crew member, and the company arranged for them to quarantine at a local hotel.
They returned to Taiwan on April 16, where they began a three-day quarantine. Chuang stated that on April 17, case No. 1,079 began to experience an itchy throat and body ache.
On April 18, case No. 1,078 developed a sore throat. Due to the need to return to duty, the company arranged for the two men to undergo coronavirus tests on April 19.
The men were diagnosed with COVID-19 on April 20. Case No. 1,078 was found to have a Ct value of 29, while case No. 1,079 had a Ct value of 17.
Given the fact that their Ct values are very low and because they had had recently flown to several other countries where cases are much more numerous, CECC Spokesman Chuang Jen-hsiang (莊人祥) said that the likelihood that the two men contracted the disease in Taiwan is slim. One pilot had recently flown to Anchorage, Alaska, while the other had traveled to India and Luxembourg before arriving in Taiwan.
Thus far, all of their contacts have tested negative for the virus. The CECC is currently carrying out an epidemiological investigation to determine how the men were infected.