Taipei, Taiwan on Thursday confirmed two new imported cases of COVID-19 and reported no locally transmitted cases for the fourth consecutive day, according to the Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC).
One of the new cases is a Taiwanese man in his 20s who returned from the United States on Sunday, said Health and Welfare Minister Chen Shih-chung (陳時中), who heads the CECC, at a press briefing.
He began to have a distorted sense of smell during quarantine, and his COVID-19 test result came back positive on Thursday, Chen said.
The other new case is a Taiwanese man in his 30s who traveled to Germany to study in August last year and returned to Taiwan on Jan. 22, according to Chen.
While in quarantine at home, he developed a headache, fever and a runny nose, and was confirmed as having COVID-19 on Thursday, Chen said.
No domestic cases of COVID-19 were recorded on Thursday, marking the fourth day in a row with no such cases in Taiwan, according to the CECC.
At the press briefing, Chen said that this means the development of a recent domestic cluster of COVID-19 is “heading in a positive direction,” though people should not let their guard down yet.
The cluster infection, which originated at Taoyuan General Hospital, has recorded 15 cases — two doctors, four nurses, one migrant caregiver, three relatives of two of the nurses, two hospital patients, and three of their family members — since the first case in the cluster was reported on Jan. 12.
To date, Taiwan has recorded 895 cases of COVID-19, 785 of which have been classified as imported. Of the total, 809 patients have recovered, seven have died, and 79 remain in hospital, CECC data shows.
Globally, COVID-19 has infected over 100.7 million people in 193 countries and regions, with more than 2.1 million fatalities, according to CECC statistics as of Thursday.
Also on Thursday, Cabinet Secretary-General Li Meng-yen (李孟諺) said there are enough rooms at quarantine hotels and government quarantine centers for those returning to Taiwan ahead of the Lunar New Year holiday.
Currently, the number of rooms offered at quarantine hotels has risen to 21,000, while there are 4,000 rooms at government quarantine centers across Taiwan, Li said at a separate press briefing in Taipei.
As of Wednesday, the occupancy rate at quarantine hotels was 76 percent, which means that there are still around 1,000 rooms people can book, said Deputy Interior Minister Chen Tsung-yen (陳宗彥).
The number of people traveling to Taiwan for the holiday peaked at 5,700 arrivals on Jan. 14, Chen said, adding that according to flight data, there should be fewer than 1,000 arrivals per day from Thursday.
Source: Focus Taiwan News Channel