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Taiwan declares end to fears of COVID outbreak at Academia Sinica

483 people have tested negative for COVID-19

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Disinfecting the Academia Sinica Genomics Research Center after a COVID case in early December. 

Disinfecting the Academia Sinica Genomics Research Center after a COVID case in early December.  (CNA photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — The Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) said Saturday (Dec. 25) that all 483 contacts of a female researcher who was infected at the Academia Sinica have tested negative for COVID-19, effectively ending fears of an outbreak.

On Dec. 9, the woman in her 20s who worked at the Genomics Research Center laboratory tested positive for the Delta variant, leading to the three-day closure of the site, which is located on the campus of the prestigious Academia Sinica in the Taipei district of Nangang.

The CECC announced Friday (Dec. 24) it would fine the institution NT$150,000 (US$5,400) because staff at the level P3 (biosafety level 3) lab had not worn the required personal protective equipment and or followed standard operating procedures during virus-related work.

After the woman, labeled case No. 16,816, was confirmed as a COVID case, 110 close contacts were ordered into quarantine, and 36 were told to begin self-health management. By Friday (Dec. 24), all 483 people in the three programs had undergone their final round of testing and tested negative for the coronavirus, CNA reported.

The case caused widespread fear of a new COVID outbreak, as the woman had resigned from the research center and traveled widely across the Taipei area before being diagnosed.