TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — Taiwan's Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) on Monday (Jan. 10) confirmed the country's first case of a toddler diagnosed with the Omicron variant of COVID.
On Sunday (Jan. 9), the CECC announced that case No. 17,416, a toddler under the age of two had been taken to an emergency room after suffering a high fever. After undergoing testing, the child was found to be positive for COVID.
An epidemiological investigation revealed that two of the child's family members, a residential service worker, and an airport luggage cart handler were all part of the same cluster infection. The luggage cart handler works at the Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport where three other coworkers have tested positive for COVID, as well as a couple dozen employees in other sections of the airport.
Philip Lo (羅一鈞), deputy head of the CECC’s medical response division, on Monday afternoon (Jan. 10) announced that genetic sequencing had revealed that the child had been infected with the Omicron variant. Lo stated that because the sequence is incomplete, comparisons to imported and local cases will be made to determine if there is a correlation between this case and the Taoyuan airport cluster infection.
When asked whether there have been severe cases in the airport cluster of Omicron cases, Lo said that most of the local cases have been asymptomatic or mild thus far. With the exception of the toddler, who has not been vaccinated, Lo said that most of the cases have been vaccinated with two doses of a COVID vaccine and there have been no reports of moderate or severe infections.
However, he emphasized that "This virus is highly infectious, and it is very contagious. People in the area can be easily infected, and there are some who have still not completed their vaccinations and could suffer mild to severe symptoms after being infected." He added that "The expansion of infections could necessitate additional medical treatments, which would place a burden on the economy and medical capacity. It is seemingly mild, but Omicron cannot be taken lightly as it could cause a sudden outbreak."