Covid-19 infections linked to the Novotel hotel at Taoyuan International Airport, currently used to quarantine travelers, were the focus of the Taiwan epidemic press conference today.
Despite a low risk of the virus spreading in communities, containing the cluster at its source is essential to prevent this eventuality, Taiwanese Minister of Health Chen Shi-chung said on a radio broadcast in Taipei in the morning.
One of the eight new cases of Covid-19 announced today by the Central Epidemic Control Center (CECC) came from an employee of the Novotel hotel. As of Thursday, a total of 16 national cases have reportedly been linked to the quarantine hotel, according to the central news agency.
To date, the government has tested more than 700 people who have been in contact with the 24 Covid-19 patients linked to the hotel, which is owned by French multinational hotel group Accor.
The Taiwanese government has been on alert since a hotel employee tested positive for Covid-19 on Thursday, April 29. The CECC, in addition to contact tracing, took action by testing all staff and guests on site on the same day.
Three other hotel employees Friday for catching the virus in the country. CECC has identified and revealed a number of places they visited before testing positive on Friday and Saturday, most in Taoyuan City but also in the Alishan National Forest Recreation Area in Chiayi. .
On Saturday, a family member of a pilot, who stayed at the hotel and tested positive for Covid-19 last week, was confirmed to be a new domestic case of the virus. Another person who lives with this patient was found to be infected the next day, when three family members of a hotel worker who tested positive on Friday were also diagnosed with the virus.
Of the three, the CECC today the case no. 1136 passed through Taipei and New Taipei’s Yonghe District by bus and subway. Places that other patients have visited before testing positive may not be made public because they are unlikely sites of new infections, Chen said at the conference.
Last Wednesday, two family members of different China Airlines pilots who tested positive for antibodies contracted Covid-19. At least six other pilots, who stayed at the hotel, were also diagnosed with the coronavirus last week, but the government has yet to identify the source of infection in these cases.
In response to recent pilot-related cases, the CECC has extended vaccine eligibility to family members of airline crews and other frontline workers, who have been at a higher risk of contracting Covid-19. . The state-funded vaccination will be open to the group from May 3.
The government will need to keep a close eye on the cluster until mid-May, if no new infections are detected to be linked to the Novotel hotel, Chen said. If infections are detected in the cluster in the next few days, the observation period will be extended.
To date, Taiwan has reported 1,145 cases of Covid-19, including 94 locally transmitted cases and 12 deaths. 75 patients with the virus are currently hospitalized.
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TNL Editor: Bryan Chou, Nicholas Haggerty (@thenewslensintl)
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