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Taiwan reports Delta cluster infections in 2 hotels

Epidemic prevention hotels in Taoyuan, Taipei report 7 local COVID cases

Worker disinfecting epidemic prevention hotel room. (Kaohsiung City Government photo)

Worker disinfecting epidemic prevention hotel room. (Kaohsiung City Government photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — Taiwan's Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) on Friday (Dec. 17) confirmed Delta variant cluster infections in two hotels in northern Taiwan.

CECC head Chen Shih-chung (陳時中) announced the center had changed seven imported cases from the previous day to local cases. Chen said the seven cases were from cluster infections in two different epidemic prevention hotels.

Taoyuan hotel

Six occupants of a hotel in Taoyuan, case Nos. 16,821, 16,841, 16,851, 16,856, 16,862, and 16,865 are all believed to have contracted COVID from case No. 16,768. Except for case No. 16,862, who was staying on the eighth floor, the rest were housed on the sixth floor of the hotel.

Chen said the S gene sequences of all seven cases in the cluster are matches for the same strain of the Delta variant. Of these four infections, Chen said that case No. 16,768 was infected the earliest.

The center believes that case No. 16,768 brought the virus from Vietnam and transmitted it to the six other confirmed cases while staying in the hotel. The center's initial judgment was that "environmental factors" were the cause of the infections, but the exact route of transmissions remains to be clarified.

The CECC is most concerned about case No. 16,851, a Taiwanese man in his 40s who had returned from China having taken two doses of Sinovac because he had entered the community for a few days before testing positive. Thus far, 16 contacts have been listed in his case and have all received negative COVID test results.

As for other contacts in the Taoyuan hotel cluster, all 37 workers have tested negative for the virus, while three travelers have tested positive for Covid, 400 have tested negative, and 15 are still awaiting their results.

Taipei hotel

Case No. 16,859, a Taiwanese woman in her 30s who had returned from Cambodia, was diagnosed with COVID on Dec. 14, two days after she was released from quarantine, with a Ct value of 12. The CECC then commenced an epidemiological investigation at the epidemic prevention hotel she stayed at in Taipei and found that another confirmed case No. 16,870, a Taiwanese man in his 30s who returned from the U.S., had been staying in an adjacent room.

After running genetic sequencing on viral samples taken from the two patients, the CECC on Friday announced the two had been infected with the same strain of Delta. Philip Lo (羅一鈞), deputy head of the CECC’s medical response division, explained the strain of Delta the two were infected with was different from the Taoyuan hotel cluster and other local cases.

Lo said the strain found in the two cases had been detected overseas. He said there had not been any reports of the same strain in Cambodia, but there had been 1,600 identical cases in the U.S.

Therefore, Lo said the center believes that case No. 16,870 was infected with the virus while in the U.S. Lo said that from the perspective of onset and the timing of infection, the probability that the virus was transmitted from case No. 16,870 to case No. 16,859 is relatively high, and therefore the latter has been reclassified as a local case.

In addition, because case No. 16,859 had returned to the community for self-health monitoring, Chen also provided an update on her 44 contacts. These contacts include four family members staying in the same residence, 20 travelers staying in the same hotel, and 20 people she came in contact with while undergoing self-health monitoring.

All of these individuals have tested negative for the virus, except for case No. 16,870.

Updated : 2022-05-20 21:11 GMT+08:00