The Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) yesterday reported two more local cases of COVID-19 associated with a cluster involving China Airlines cargo pilots and Novotel Taipei Taoyuan International Airport hotel employees, bringing the total number of infections to 26.
Minister of Health and Welfare Chen Shih-chung (陳時中), who heads the center, said that case No. 1,145 is a Taiwanese contractor in his 40s.
From early April to Wednesday last week, he worked on the plumbing and electrics on floors of the hotel that are being renovated, Chen said, adding that he began coughing on Wednesday last week, so he sought treatment at a clinic on Friday.
Photo: Chen En-huei, Taipei Times
The local health department arranged for him to be tested for COVID-19 on Saturday, and the result came back positive yesterday with a cycle threshold value of 13, indicating a high viral load, he said.
Twenty of the contractor’s close contacts have been placed under home isolation, while three people have been ordered to conduct self-health management, he said.
Case No. 1,146 is an Indonesian girl in her teens, Chen said.
She is the daughter of a cargo pilot who tested positive in Australia, as reported by the center on April 20. The pilot’s wife and other child tested positive later in the month.
The girl was placed under home isolation and tested on April 21, but the result came back negative, Chen said, adding that she began experiencing a mild fever, runny nose and throat discomfort on Friday, but she did not report it, as she thought her symptoms were too mild.
The local health department arranged for her to be tested again on Sunday, because her family members were all diagnosed with COVID-19, he said.
As of yesterday, 10 cargo plane pilots, eight of the pilots’ family members, four hotel workers and a hotel contractor, and three family members of a hotel worker have tested positive since April 20.
On Thursday, all hotel employees and guests — mainly flight crew members — were moved to centralized quarantine facilities.
Chen said the contractors working at the hotel were on Thursday categorized into 15 groups, with seven groups listed for home isolation and eight groups listed for self-health management, but they were all arranged to be tested for COVID-19.
After case No. 1,145 tested positive, the center ordered all contractors, part-time employees, and resigned employees — a total of 74 people — to isolate at home, he said, adding that a total of 1,411 people linked to the airline and hotel have so far been placed under home isolation.
The locations visited by the infected contractor are being investigated, while contact tracing clarify the source of infection is also ongoing, he added.
According to the COVID-19 situation alert standards and responses, issued by the center last year, the current situation is “similar” to the alert level of “sporadic community infections caused by imported cases,” Chen said.
So far the infections are still among family members of the pilots and hotel workers, so the restrictions on large gatherings would not be tightened, but organizers should carefully evaluate the infection risk and prepare a disease prevention response plan if they decide to hold an event, Chen said.
The CECC yesterday reported six imported cases: travelers from the Netherlands, Indonesia and Uzbekistan.
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