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Taiwan reports 60 local COVID cases at Farglory FTZ

60 more foreign migrant workers at electronics factory in Farglory FTZ test positive for COVID

Health and Welfare Minister Chen Shih-chung. (CECC image)

Health and Welfare Minister Chen Shih-chung. (CECC image)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — Late on Friday evening (Jan. 21), the Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) announced that 60 more foreign workers at the Farglory Free Trade Zone (FTZ) in Taoyuan City have tested positive for COVID, bringing the total number of cases at the facility to 66.

During a press conference on Friday afternoon, CECC head Chen Shih-chung (陳時中) announced that two migrant workers, case Nos. 18,219 and 18,220, had eaten at the same Tasty in Taoyuan City's Zhongli District as other cases on Jan. 9 but were not listed as contacts who should undergo testing. However, when their supervisor at an electronics factory in the Farglory FTZ noticed that they had developed symptoms and after learning that they had been to Tasty, they were tested for the virus.

Because they live in cramped quarters in a worker dormitory, occupants underwent testing as well. Initially, four of their coworkers had also tested positive for COVID.

They were identified as case Nos. 18,221, 18,222, 18,223, and 18,224. Tests on over 1,100 other employees at the facility in Taoyuan City's Dayuan District continued throughout the day on Friday and their results began to stream in.

Late that evening, the CECC send a text message announcing that 60 more workers from the plant had tested positive for COVID, bringing the total number of workers in the factory cluster infection to 66.

The CECC stated that 675 workers have tested negative, while 270 are still awaiting the results of their tests. The latest update on the test results will be provided during the Saturday afternoon CECC press conference.

That same evening, Victor Wang (王必勝), who heads the CECC's command post at Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport, told the media that the because there was no real-name registration system used at the Tasty branch and due to the language barrier, the foreign workers were not notified that they were contacts of confirmed cases and had not been following the news of the outbreak.

Due to the resulting gap in contact tracing, the two workers who dined at Tasty were not tested for 12 days. Since it is unknown how many days it has been since the onset of the disease in the two cases, Wang could only roughly estimate that they had probably been ill for at least one week and exposed an unknown number of people to the virus.

Wang said that most of the 60 new cases are migrant workers, but some are Taiwanese citizens. He said the workers' Ct counts range from high to low.