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Home The News News Virus Outbreak: Premier Su urges continued vigilance

Virus Outbreak: Premier Su urges continued vigilance

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Premier Su Tseng-chang, center, speaks to reporters during a visit to the Central Epidemic Command Center in Taipei yesterday, as Minister of Health and Welfare Chen Shih-chung, left, looks on.
Photo: Fang Pin-chao, Taipei Times

The public needs to stay vigilant, Premier Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌) said yesterday, as the Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) said there were eight new cases of COVID-19, all imported, bringing the total in Taiwan to 363.

During a visit to the CECC in Taipei, Su urged people to maintain the highest level of alertness to avert the need for stricter measures to contain the spread of the disease.

Taiwan is one of the very few nations in the world where people are still able to carry out their normal daily activities, Su said, adding that this was the result of a strong collective effort.

“It is understandable that people want to go out on holiday weekends, but a very few people have been overindulging or accidentally forgetting to wear their masks or practice social distancing,” Su said.

People must take good care of themselves to reduce the burden on society, he added.

Minister of Health and Welfare Chen Shih-chung (陳時中), who heads the CECC, said the eight new cases were four women and four men who had returned from Morocco, Austria, the Czech Republic, the UK and the US between March 14 and Thursday.

Case No. 356, who was confirmed yesterday, is the husband of a domestic case (No. 343) reported on Saturday, Chen said.

The man in his 60s had worked in the US between Feb. 23 and March 17 and initially did not have any symptoms after returning to Taiwan, but he is now considered to have been the likely source of his wife’s infection, the minister said.

His wife had no recent history of overseas travel and was confirmed as infected after she developed body aches, a cough and a runny nose on March 20, CECC records showed.

Case No. 357 is a woman in her 50s who visited Morocco between March 10 and March 22 with a 17-person tour group, of whom two others had been confirmed to have COVID-19, and she developed a fever and pneumonia before seeking help on March 26, he said.

She tested positive on Friday, and 12 of the other 14 group members have tested negative, while two more are awaiting their test results, Chen said.

Three of the new cases — Nos. 359, 360 and 363 — are members of a group tour that visited Austria and the Czech Republic between March 5 and March 14, who were in home isolation from March 16 to March 29, but did not develop any symptoms during the 14-day period, Chen said.

However, as six of the 17 people in the group had tested positive, the rest were tested after their 14-day home isolation ended, and the three tested positive, with chest radiography showing mild pulmonary infiltration in two of them.

Asked about three of them developing serious pneumonia, one of whom has died, CECC advisory specialist panel convener Chang Shan-chwen (張上淳) said the three patients were also obese.

Obesity is a known risk factor for serious influenza complications, so the novel coronavirus strain from Europe might have not have increased the seriousness of their symptoms as much as their own physical condition, he said.

Chen said the source of infection of a domestic case announced on Saturday — No. 352, a man in his 40s who had not traveled abroad recently — is likely to have been case No. 301, a man who did not test positive until several days after his return from the US, as the two men met for about an hour on March 21 for drinks.

Chen said the center on Saturday had listed “diarrhea with unknown cause” as among the warning signs for reporting suspected cases of the virus, as there has been a significant increase in the percentage of confirmed patients who have reported the symptom.

This increase was similar to the increase in the number percentage of confirmed COVID-19 patients who reported suffering a loss of taste or smell, he said.

The minister also said that taxi drivers can now refuse to carry passengers who are not wearing a mask — in keeping with a mask-wearing requirement for accessing public transportation nationwide.

Additional reporting by Chen Yu-fu and CNA

Source: Taipei Times - 2020/04/06

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