CORONAVIRUS/9 of 15 new domestic COVID cases test positive in quarantine

Nine of the 15 new domestic COVID-19 cases reported Saturday in Taiwan tested positive after they were placed in quarantine as contacts of previously confirmed cases, which officials believe should help limit the spread of the virus.

Taiwan reported a total of 48 new COVID-19 cases -- 15 domestic and 33 imported -- on Saturday.

According to Health Minister Chen Shih-chung (???), 13 of the new domestic cases were linked to cluster infections involving a hotel in Yilan County, the Port of Kaohsiung, and several locations in Taoyuan, including the Farglory Free Trade Zone (FTZ) near Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport.

Farglory FTZ cluster

Since the first cases were confirmed among employees of a factory of Askey Computer Corp. in the Farglory FTZ on Jan. 21, a total of 119 locally transmitted COVID-19 infections have been confirmed at the industrial park, including four reported Saturday, he said.

Of these Farglory FTZ-related cases, 83 involved migrant workers, while the 20 infections since Jan. 25 were Askey employees who were among the 966 people placed in quarantine, said Victor Wang (???), the CECC's on-site manager of the cluster at the industrial park.

The Askey factory remains closed, but 31 other companies operating in the same block in the industrial park will be allowed to resume operations once their employees have two negative COVID-19 tests and more stringent disease prevention measures are put in place, according to Wang.

Also in Taoyuan, three of the new cases have been connected to a cluster at a kindergarten, which was part of the wider outbreak in the city, where the first case involving an airport janitor was reported on Jan. 3.

All three of the individuals tested positive after being placed in quarantine, the CECC said.

Cases in Kaohsiung

Meanwhile, three of the new domestic cases reported Saturday are linked to the cluster infections involving people who stayed at a hotel in Yilan and their contacts, and the number of cases recorded since Jan. 23 is now up to 16, according to the CECC.

These three new cases include a couple who are friends with a family of three in Kaohsiung who visited Yilan, and a student who goes to the same kindergarten as one of the two children in the family, Chen said.

The three new cases tested positive after the family was confirmed to have COVID-19 on Friday, and more tests will be carried out on people listed as their contacts, he said.

There were also three other cases believed to be part of the Kaohsiung port cluster, with two of them already in quarantine when testing positive for the disease, and one a neighbor of a recently confirmed case, Chen said.

Since Jan. 20, 80 infections have been connected to the Kaohsiung port cluster, and several of them have been confirmed to have the Omicron variant of the virus.

According to Kaohsiung Mayor Chen Chi-mai (???), around 2,000 people in the city are set to spend the Lunar New Year holiday that began on Saturday in quarantine.

Infections of unknown origin

The two remaining new domestic cases involved a woman in her 40s, who tested positive when she went to see a doctor on Friday, and her husband in his 50s, who also tested positive following her test results, according to the CECC. They both live and work in Taoyuan.

The sources of the two infections are still being investigated, according to the CECC.

To date, Taiwan has confirmed 18,681 COVID-19 cases since the pandemic began in early 2020, including 15,034 domestically transmitted infections.

With no deaths reported on Saturday, the number of confirmed COVID-19 deaths in the country remained at 851. The most recent fatality linked to the disease was reported on Jan. 13.

Because of the 172 Omicron variant infections identified among the more than 400 domestic cases recorded in January, the CECC said it will continue measures previously introduced in August amid the Delta variant outbreak to monitor the community spread of the disease.

They include weekly government-funded tests of key workers at airports and sea ports, handing out free home test kits through more than 200 clinics around Taiwan, and testing sewage samples and packaging of imported frozen foods, the CECC said.

Source: Focus Taiwan News Channel