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Jet cabin cleaner tests positive for Delta variant in Taiwan's Taoyuan Airport

COVID-positive aircraft cleaner had received one dose of AstraZeneca vaccine

Stock image of a cleaning crew member disinfecting an aircraft cabin. (Facebook, Taipei Songshan Airport photo)

Stock image of a cleaning crew member disinfecting an aircraft cabin. (Facebook, Taipei Songshan Airport photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — An aircraft cabin cleaner at Taiwan's busiest airport who had received one dose of the AstraZeneca vaccine is the latest person to test positive for the Delta variant of COVID-19.

Health Minister and CECC head Chen Shih-chung (陳時中) on Wednesday (Sept. 15) announced five new coronavirus cases, including four imported and one local. The CECC did not announce any deaths, leaving the COVID death toll at 839.

Chen said that the sole local case is a woman in her 20s who was mainly responsible for cleaning aircraft cabins at the Taoyuan International Airport. On Sept. 12, she began to experience a mild runny nose and dizziness.

As part of her duties, she underwent a coronavirus test on Sept. 14, and she was diagnosed with COVID-19 on Sept. 15. The areas that she recently worked in have since been thoroughly cleaned and disinfected.

The health department has identified 45 contacts, all of whom have entered home isolation. She has no recent history of traveling abroad.

The health department is continuing to conduct contact tracing and is carrying out an epidemiological investigation to find the source of the infection.

Philip Lo (羅一鈞), deputy head of the CECC’s medical response division, said that the woman was found to have a Ct value of 14. Because she tested negative for the virus on Sept. 7, the center believes that she probably would not have been infectious until after Sept. 8.

Lo said that because she had only received one dose of the AstraZeneca vaccine in early June, she is not being classified as a breakthrough infection. A breakthrough infection is defined as a person who has tested positive for COVID-19 at least 14 days after they have completed the full vaccine schedule.

According to the center, there are 36 local cases in Taiwan that have been found to be caused by the Delta variant. A total of 13 are related to the Pingtung cluster, one is tied to the EVA Air pilot cluster, and 21 are linked to the kindergarten cluster in New Taipei.

As to whether the iteration of the Delta variant found in the woman is the same as the other clusters, Lo said the results of genomic sequencing will come in on Friday (Sept. 17).

The cycle threshold (Ct) value refers to the number of cycles the fluorescence of the PCR test is detectable. Generally, the higher the number, the longer the virus has gone undetected, while the lower the number, the more recent the infection likely occurred.

Updated : 2021-09-21 11:40 GMT+08:00