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Novotel manager diagnosed as local COVID case in Taiwan

Taiwan reports 1 undetermined, 2 local, 2 imported cases

CECC head Chen Shih-chung. (CECC photo)

CECC head Chen Shih-chung. (CECC photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — The Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) on Thursday (April 29) announced two local and two imported COVID-19 cases and one case that has yet to be classified.

During a press conference on Thursday (April 29), Health Minister and CECC head Chen Shih-chung (陳時中) announced two new local and two imported cases as well as one of uncertain origin.

Of the two local cases, one is a hotel employee and the other is a relative of a pilot from the China Airlines cargo pilot cluster. The undetermined case, a pilot, is under investigation.

According to Chen, case No. 1,120 is a Taiwanese man in his 40s and a manager at a Novotel that has been serving as an airport epidemic prevention hotel during the pandemic. He has no history of travel abroad.

His usual duties included ensuring the cleanliness of rooms and occasionally providing quarantined aircrews with amenities or helping them purchase items. He claimed to have worn a mask and gloves at all times while on duty.

However, on April 17, he developed a cough, runny nose, loss of appetite, and shortness of breath. He visited a clinic several times between April 19 and 26.

As his symptoms did not improve, he went to a hospital for treatment on April 27. Doctors diagnosed him with pneumonia, and he was admitted into the hospital for isolation and testing.

On April 29, he was diagnosed with COVID-19, with a Ct value of 21, and was found to be positive for both IgM and IgG antibodies.

Chen said the man lived alone. The health department has identified 107 contacts in his case, including friends, coworkers, and medical personnel.

Of these contacts, four have entered home isolation, while 103 have begun self-health monitoring. The CECC has begun an epidemiological investigation into his recent movements and contacts.

As a result of the diagnosis of a hotel staff member, the CECC has temporarily closed the Novotel and is having all its employees tested for the coronavirus and dispatched to a quarantine center.

In addition, 39 environmental specimens have been taken from the hotel for further analysis.

Case No. 1,121 is a Taiwanese woman in her 40s and a family member of the cargo pilot case No. 1,078. On April 20, she was listed as a contact of the pilot and tested for the coronavirus.

The test came back negative. However, on April 27, she began to experience chest tightness and shortness of breath, prompting the health department to arrange for another test.

On April 29, she tested positive for COVID-19 with a Ct value of 18. Since she had been in home isolation before the onset of symptoms and had no interaction with others during that time, no contacts have been listed for her case.

With the exception of case No. 1,121, the test results of 28 family and work contacts listed for case No. 1,078 have all come back negative.

Chen stated that case No. 1,122 is a Taiwanese male cargo pilot in his 50s who had been on duty in the U.S. from April 2-9. After returning to Taiwan, he underwent quarantine at an epidemic prevention hotel until April 15.

He was asymptomatic during his quarantine, and a test conducted when it ended was negative. He went to the U.S. again on April 19 and returned from the U.S. via Japan on April 24.

After arriving in Taiwan on April 25, he went to his residence to quarantine. On April 27, he began to experience a sore throat and fever, and the health department arranged for him to undergo a medical examination.

On April 29, he was confirmed to have COVID-19, with a Ct value of 21. The health department has identified one contact in his case, who has entered home isolation. An investigation is being conducted into his workplace contacts to determine the source of his infection.