More than 100 people who had close contact with a Japanese student who tested positive for COVID-19 on her arrival in Japan from Taiwan are to have their blood tested to see if they have developed antibodies for the virus, the Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) said yesterday, after all of them tested negative for the virus.
The student arrived in late February to attend classes in southern Taiwan. She tested positive for the virus upon arrival at Narita Airport on Saturday last week.
The case was reported by the center on Wednesday.
Photo: Chu Pei-hsiung, Taipei Times
As the source of her infection is not clear, the CECC has not given the case a number.
The 123 people who had close contact with the woman, including teachers and former roommates, have been ordered to isolate at home.
On Monday, the center is to conduct blood tests on the 123 people to see whether they have been infected, Centers for Disease Control (CDC) Deputy Director-General Chuang Jen-hsiang (莊人祥) told a news conference in Taipei.
A polymerase chain reaction test in Japan showed that the woman’s cycle threshold (CT) reading was between 37 and 38, which is considered “slightly positive” by Taiwan’s standards, Chuang said.
Scientists have yet to arrive at a consensus over what CT value should constitute a confirmed case, he said.
It is possible that the result from the test done in Japan is not reliable, given that people who had close contact with her have all tested negative so far, he said, adding that it was possible that she was infected in Taiwan one or two months ago, or even earlier.
As of yesterday, Taiwan had reported 447 cases, with seven fatalities, CECC data showed.
They comprised 356 imported cases, 55 local cases and 36 among crew members on the navy supply ship Panshih (磐石), the data showed.
In related news, eight foreign students arrived yesterday at Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport and began 14 days of isolation, the Ministry of Education said.
They are among the first batch of 2,238 students allowed to re-enter Taiwan after the center last week announced a list of 11 low-risk countries or regions from which students can return to study in Taiwan, with those planning to graduate this semester prioritized.
The places are Australia, Bhutan, Brunei, Fiji, Hong Kong, Macau, Mongolia, Thailand, New Zealand, Palau and Vietnam.
On Thursday, the airport reopened for transit passengers whose stay is scheduled for less than eight hours. Seven travelers from the Philippines arrived at the airport yesterday on transit stops before flights to three cities in the US.
Additional reporting by CNA
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