The Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) yesterday reported no new locally transmitted COVID-19 cases or deaths, but confirmed five imported cases: travelers who arrived from Japan, South Africa and Vietnam.
Genome sequencing results for more cases associated with a cluster infection at a kindergarten in New Taipei City’s Banciao District (板橋) showed they have also contracted the Delta variant of SARS-CoV-2, said Minister of Health and Welfare Chen Shih-chung (陳時中), who heads the center.
Twenty cases associated with the cluster had the Delta variant, said Centers for Disease Control Deputy Director-General Philip Lo (羅一鈞), who is deputy head of the CECC’s medical response division.
Photo courtesy of the Yuanli Township Farmers’ Association
Genome sequencing results for virus samples collected from a construction worker who had visited a building in Banciao where people in three households later tested positive for COVID-19, as well as the worker’s wife, yesterday showed that they also had the Delta variant, Lo said.
Antibody testing on one of the cases in the cluster showed that she has antibodies against the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein due to vaccination, but none against the nucleocapsid protein, which are produced due to a previous COVID-19 infection, he said.
The test results indicate that she was recently infected, which matches the conclusion made from contact tracing and her polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test results, Lo added.
Photo: Liu Hsin-de, Taipei Times
In other developments, genome sequencing results for a junior-high school student in Taipei’s Songshan District (松山), whose case was reported on Friday, showed that he had the Alpha variant, the main variant circulating in Taiwan.
The student’s PCR test produced a high cycle threshold value, indicating a low viral load, Lo said.
He tested negative for IgM antibodies, but positive for IgG antibodies, indicating a previous infection some time ago, Lo said, adding that the student’ three family members tested negative for COVID-19.
Meanwhile, Chen said that test results from people associated with a separate Delta cluster among aircrew members in Taoyuan, including expanded testing on all EVA Airways Corp (長榮航空) pilots, suggest that the cluster has been brought under control, as no new confirmed cases have been found.
While there is still the possibility of finding a few sporadic cases in the following days, the cluster could still be considered under control if the cases are found during isolation, he added.
A total of 2,984 people associated with the Banciao cluster have undergone COVID-19 testing, and so far 22 have tested positive, 2,001 tested negative and 961 people are awaiting their test results, Chen said.
That two-thirds of the screened people have tested negative points to a relatively safe situation, he said adding that the situation would be considered safer if the remaining results also come back negative.
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