5-year-old, Indonesian among 20 returnees infected in Taiwan

China | 24 Mar 2020 4:55 pm

Twenty more people are infected with the new coronavirus, Taiwan said today. This brings the total to 215 since the pandemic began, the Central Epidemic Command Center said.

All were imported cases, with the ages of those infected ranging between a 5-year-old and a patient in their 60s, said Health Minister Chen Shih-chung, said, CNA reports.

Among the 20, seven were males and 13 females. They all entered Taiwan from overseas between March 13 and March 22 and began showing symptoms between March 9 and March 23, Chen said. Countries they visited include the United Kingdom, Ireland, Italy, Turkey, Indonesia, Spain, France, the United States, Thailand, Germany, Bulgaria and Belgium.

Eight of the 20 were stopped at the airport because they showed symptoms, nine were put under quarantine, two visited doctors with symptoms, while one was under home isolation, Chen said.

According to data, a Taiwanese couple identified as cases No. 197 and No. 202 traveled to the U.S. from March 8-18 to visit family. They started showing symptoms a day after returning to Taiwan, and were confirmed to be infected today.

Also among the newly confirmed cases was the 15th and latest case of a cluster infection involving a Taiwanese tour group that had traveled to Turkey.

Case No. 213, a Taiwanese male who studies in Italy, boarded the same plane as the tour group when returning to Taiwan March 13, began showing symptoms two days later, and was confirmed today.

The remaining 17 were all individuals including a 5-year-old girl who was infected  when accompanying her mother on a company trip to Turkey.

Of the 27 people on the same trip, only the girl has been confirmed with the virus, while the rest have either tested negative or have not shown symptoms.

The new cases also include two foreign nationals, a U.S. man in his 50s and an Indonesian migrant worker in his 40s.

The U.S. national traveled to Germany and Bulgaria on March 7, then headed to Thailand on March 11 and arrived in Taiwan for a transit flight on March 20.

The man, however, was already feeling unwell on his flight to Taiwan, and was deemed too ill to continue his travel upon arrival. He was sent to a negative pressure isolation room for testing that day and was confirmed today.

The Indonesian migrant worker was stopped at the airport upon arrival on March 22 due to a fever, and was confirmed to have the disease on Tuesday as well, the CECC said.

As of Tuesday, 178 of Taiwan's 215 cases had been classified as imported, while the remaining 37 are believed to have contracted the disease locally, the CECC said.

Twenty-nine of the cases have been released from quarantine, while two patients have died. The others are still in negative pressure rooms in hospitals but are all in relatively stable condition, according to the CECC.

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