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Indonesian worker tests positive for COVID after flying to Taiwan's Penghu

53 people listed as contacts for fishery worker who didn't wait for result of test

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COVID test in July. 

COVID test in July.  (CNA photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — An Indonesian migrant worker flew to Penghu County without waiting for the results of his COVID-19 test, which came back positive, potentially exposing 53 people to the virus.

On Thursday afternoon (Dec. 16), the 44-year-old fishery worker took a flight from Kaohsiung to Magong, where he prepared to go out to sea for work. However, he failed to wait for the results of a PCR test taken before the end of his self-health monitoring on Wednesday (Dec. 15), which came back positive for COVID, with a Ct value of 37.06.

Kaohsiung City Government Department of Health on Thursday evening announced the man had received his second dose of the Moderna vaccine two weeks before flying to Taiwan. He arrived in the country on Nov. 23 and on Nov. 24 was placed in a quarantine center.

A PCR test taken upon arrival in Taiwan came back negative and another test taken at the end of his 14-day quarantine on Dec. 6 was also negative. He spent the next seven days of self-health monitoring in the quarantine center.

After 21 days of quarantine and self-health monitoring, the Indonesian man was scheduled to start work in Penghu. On Wednesday, he was transported by his labor broker to a company dormitory in Kaohsiung City's Nanzih District.

That afternoon, he underwent a PCR test. Although he had not yet received the results of the test, he boarded a domestic flight to Penghu on Thursday afternoon.

At 5 p.m. the result came back positive for COVID, but by that time he had already flown to Penghu's Magong. The health department said that his labor broker violated the Communicable Disease Control Act (傳染病防治法) and vowed to hold them accountable in accordance with the law.

The health department said the case stayed in Kaohsiung City for about 24 hours. Except for taking the PCR test, the man stayed in the dormitory for the rest of his time in the city.

According to a preliminary investigation, 53 contacts have been listed in his case, including the driver of the epidemic prevention vehicle, 21 fellow migrant workers (3 of whom have tested negative), 12 labor agency employees, and 19 fellow airline passengers. As the man is asymptomatic and given his high Ct value, officials believe he was infected in Indonesia and are currently categorizing him as an imported case.