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Health expert calls for search for asymptomatic COVID cases in Taiwan

Finding those with immunity can help map infections: Chan

Virus testing in Hualien County 

Virus testing in Hualien County  (CNA photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — The government should take more action to track down asymptomatic COVID cases, a top health expert said Thursday (June 17).

The country can use its own methods to do so, as it faces a different environment from other countries, according to Chan Chang-chuan (詹長權), professor at the College of Public Health at National Taiwan University (NTU).

In an interview broadcast by TTV, Chan described how various countries have dealt with asymptomatic coronavirus cases during the pandemic.

At the outset, only the appearance of symptoms informed health authorities that infections had occurred, but now experts know about the importance of asymptomatic cases and the difficulty finding them, he said.

Large countries and heavily populated U.S. states have chosen to establish a dense network of testing stations to track down asymptomatic cases. On a smaller scale, the Australian city of Melbourne has concentrated its search in limited localities using a "carpet-bombing" style, while South Korea has conducted intensive tests on certain segments of the population, Chan said.

As Taiwan has a relatively low infection rate compared to other countries, the health expert said he doubts the need for such intensive methods. Instead, health services should look for representative samples in certain areas with high numbers of quarantined cases, he said.

Chan also advocated a study of antibodies and immunity targeted at previously undetected COVID infections. This would give a better idea of past infections and the reach of the pandemic in the country. People found to have developed antibodies could become less of a priority for vaccination, Chan said.

Updated : 2021-07-30 08:52 GMT+08:00