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Taiwan sees link between COVID outbreak in Kaohsiung and the Philippines

Genome sequencing shows Kaohsiung port cluster related to Omicron cases in Philippines

COVID testing at Kaohsiung Harbor's Pier 34 Friday. 

COVID testing at Kaohsiung Harbor's Pier 34 Friday.  (CNA photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — Genome sequencing has shown a link between a local COVID-19 cluster centered on the Port of Kaohsiung and an Omicron type prevalent in the Philippines, officials said Saturday (Jan. 22).

The first recent case to be discovered in the southern city was a man who had conducted repair work on a ship registered in Sierra Leone. Members of his family and colleagues at the harbor were also infected, bringing the size of the cluster to 12 people, CNA reported.

The largest cluster in the country originated at its main gateway, Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport, before spreading via a bank and a steakhouse to an electronics factory — all of them in.

However, the cases in Kaohsiung were not related to the Taoyuan cluster, Kaohsiung Mayor Chen Chi-mai (陳其邁) announced Saturday. Instead, they showed common characteristics with an Omicron variant type which has spread in the Philippines.

According to city officials, the ship believed to have been the source of the Kaohsiung infections had previously docked in Manila. As the risk of infection seemed to be limited to the port, COVID testing in the area has been intensified. Out of 2,152 people tested, six turned out to be positive for the coronavirus, officials said.

Updated : 2022-05-26 01:13 GMT+08:00