CORONAVIRUS/Local COVID-19 cases surge to new high in latest outbreak

Taiwan confirmed 23 new domestic cases of COVID-19 on Friday, the highest daily figure since the beginning of an outbreak that originated among airport cleaning staff in early January, according to the Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC).


As Taiwan recorded another 11 local infections associated with the airport in northern Taiwan, 10 others with Omicron variant were reported in Kaohsiung in the south, CECC head Chen Shih-chung (陳時中) said at a daily press briefing.


Another case was a direct family contact with an imported case, while the last case is still being investigated, Chen said.


While Taiwan began to see sporadic outbreaks across the country, Chen said most of them had traceable infection sources.


“The situation may be clearer until after the Lunar New Year,” Chen said, before cautioning that the Kaohsiung cases were more complicated.


Omicron cases in Kaohsiung

The Kaohsiung infections can be traced back to a maintenance worker at the Kaohsiung Harbor, who may have contracted the disease when he came into contact with people on a Sierra Leone-flagged vessel, the city’s health officials said Friday.


The commercial vessel departed from Manila to dock in Kaohsiung between Jan. 10 and 19, officials said, adding that it was now heading to Jeju Island in South Korea.


Chen said it was likely that the man was infected between Jan. 13 and 14, adding that CECC had already informed its South Korean counterparts.


The man’s wife and child were already reported on Thursday to have been infected, and seven Kaohsiung Harbor workers were confirmed Friday, according to Chen.


Three other Kaohsiung residents were infected at a local clinic that the man visited on Jan. 19 after he developed symptoms on Jan. 15, Chen said.


Of the 23 new domestic cases confirmed nationwide Friday, 15 were fully vaccinated, two had received one vaccine dose, three had not gotten a single dose, and the status of the other three is still under investigation.


Update: 60 new COVID-19 cases confirmed at Taoyuan company


Imported cases

In addition to the domestic cases, Taiwan also reported 45 imported cases on Friday. The CECC did not release any information regarding the vaccination status of the imported cases.


To date, Taiwan has confirmed 18,109 COVID-19 cases since the pandemic began in early 2020, of which 14,772 were domestic infections.


With no deaths reported Friday, the number of confirmed COVID-19 deaths in the country remained at 851.


Source: Focus Taiwan News Channel