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Taiwan airport Omicron cluster infection grows to 8

4 airport workers confirmed with Omicron variant

(Taiwan News, Yuwen Lin image)

(Taiwan News, Yuwen Lin image)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — An Omicron cluster infection tied to Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport has grown to eight cases.

On Wednesday evening (Jan. 5), the Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) issued a press release that said three more cleaning staff members at the airport who work for the contractor Sincere Group (信實集團) have tested positive for COVID. The three cases are all women, ranging in age from their 50s to their 60s, with Ct values of 33.8, 23.4, and 19.5.

They worked in the same area of the airport as case Nos. 17,230, 17,238, 17,239, and 17,266, the first of whom tested positive for the Omicron variant. Epidemiological investigations, contact tracing, and epidemic prevention efforts are underway.

On Tuesday (Jan. 4), the CECC announced that a cleaner, case No. 17, 230, had tested positive for Omicron, while the center said that a quarantine taxi driver, case No. 17,240, who worked in the same parking lot as the cleaners was Omicron-positive on Wednesday.

Philip Lo (羅一鈞), deputy head of the CECC’s medical response division, on Thursday afternoon (Jan. 6) announced that Nos. 17,238 and 17,239 were infected with the Omicron variant. This brings the total number of confirmed Omicron cases in the cluster to four.

The seven cleaners are thought to have contracted COVID on the bus they all rode to the airport on a regular basis. The center believes the taxi driver contracted the virus by using the same restroom the workers cleaned.

However, the driver also carried confirmed cases on Dec. 16 and Dec. 31 and could have contracted the virus from his passengers. Conversely, it is also possible that he could have transmitted the virus to the passengers.

There are concerns that case No. 17,230 could have transmitted the virus to the local community in Taoyuan's Zhongli District while selling goods at a stall at Zhongzhen Market. A possible superpreader event is a New Year's Eve party with nearly 1,000 attendees at the Golden Voice Singers Club, which was frequented by case No. 17,239.