The possibility of a locally acquired infection cannot yet be ruled out in the case a Thai man who tested positive for COVID-19 after returning home from Taiwan last week, the Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) said yesterday.
The migrant worker, who returned to Thailand on Tuesday, tested positive for COVID-19 on Saturday at a quarantine center in Bangkok, and was one of four new cases that Thailand’s Centre for COVID-19 Situation Administration reported yesterday.
Centers for Disease Control (CDC) Deputy Director-General Chuang Jen-hsiang (莊人祥), the CECC spokesperson, said the man, who had worked in northern Taiwan since Jan. 17, 2018, flew home on China Airlines (中華航空) Flight CI-831.
The Bangkok Post reported that Thailand has classified the man’s case as an imported one, but the CECC still wants to confirm with Thai authorities when he became symptomatic, as it only found about him at noon, Chuang said.
“We do not know when the man began suffering symptoms, nor when the test was conducted. We are still in the process of contacting the Thai authorities to gain a better understanding,” he said, adding that the man had not left Taiwan prior to his departure last week.
There are eight more Thais working for the same company, as well as their Taiwanese colleagues, and everyone who lived in the same dormitory as the man would be quarantined for 14 days, he said.
The CECC has not excluded the idea that his case might be a locally acquired infection, and CDC doctors and local health officials have begun contact investigations to identify close contacts of the man, he said.
The CECC also reported four imported cases of COVID-19, two cases from South Africa, one from Lesotho and one from the US, bringing the nation’s total number of confirmed cases to 462.
The 459th confirmed case is a woman in her 20s, who began working in Lesotho in December last year, Chuang said.
She developed a headache on Sunday last week and by Thursday had a runny nose, nasal congestion, abnormal senses of taste and smell, and coughing, but did not see a doctor before she returned to Taiwan on Saturday due to the limited medical resources in Lesotho, he said.
She reported her symptoms to quarantine officers at Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport, and was tested at the airport before being taken to a centralized quarantine facility, he said, adding that her test result was received yesterday.
Eight of the woman’s colleagues and friends who returned to Taiwan with her have been asked to perform home isolation, he said.
A woman in her 50s (case No. 461) and her son, who is in his 20s (case No. 460), developed symptoms including runny noses, itchy throats, nasal congestion and coughing early last week, and returned from South Africa on Saturday via Dubai, Chuang said.
The son reported having symptoms to airport quarantine officers, while his mother was found to have a fever upon arrival and was taken to a hospital for treatment, he said, adding that they both tested positive yesterday.
Case No. 462 is a man in his 60s who had been in the US since February to visit family and returned home on Monday last week, Chuang said.
He did not feel sick while in the US or after arrival, but on Friday, while under home quarantine, the man developed an impaired sense of taste and general weakness, Chuang said.
He contacted his local health department for assistance on Sunday after he began suffering shortness of breath and throat and joint pain, and yesterday his test result showed that he had COVID-19, Chuang added.
Chuang reminded the public that people need to rigorously maintain the “new disease prevention lifestyle” by wearing a mask when in crowded public spaces or where it might be difficult to maintain a safe social distance, and to wash their hands more frequently.
Additional reporting by CNA
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