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Taiwan reports first locally transmitted COVID-19 case in more than 8 months

Taiwan reports first locally transmitted COVID-19 case in more than 8 months

People wear protective masks to prevent the spread of COVID-19 while walking at the metro station in Taipei, Taiwan on Nov 1, 2020. (Photo: Reuters/Ann Wang)

TAIPEI: Taiwan on Tuesday (Dec 22) reported its first locally transmitted case of COVID-19 in more than eight months.

The local case is a friend of a New Zealand pilot who tested positive for COVID-19, Health Minister Chen Shih-chung told a news conference. 

He added that the woman in her 30s had close contact with the pilot, who was confirmed to have been infected on Sunday having flown flights to the United States.

Chen said the New Zealand national had not correctly reported all his contacts and list of places he had been, and that he may be in breach of Taiwan's communicable diseases law.

The government has published a list of places he went to in and around Taipei, and told people who may have been there to monitor their health. 

The pilot - who faces a fine of up to NT$300,000 (US$10,600) - visited several establishments including a department store, say authorities. 

According to a Facebook post by the health ministry, they were in contact from Dec 7 to Dec 12. She was also in contact with 167 people, of whom 13 have been quarantined.

Taiwan tech firm Quanta Storage said the woman was an employee at a subsidiary, and that contacts who had been tested so far had come back negative for the virus.

Taiwan’s Centers for Disease Control (CDC) last reported a locally transmitted COVID-19 case on Apr 12. 

The island also reported three more imported COVID-19 cases on Tuesday. Since the pandemic began, Taiwan has reported 771 COVID-19 cases and seven deaths. 

READ: Taiwan sets goal to vaccinate 60% of population against COVID-19

Separately, the government said it would halve the number of flights to Britain, to just one a week, after a highly infectious new coronavirus strain was found in the country.

Those arriving in Taiwan from Britain, or who have been in Britain within the last 14 days, will also have to quarantine for 14 days in centralised quarantine facilities.

Earlier this month, Singapore said it would lift border restrictions for visitors from Taiwan from Dec 18. 

Travellers can apply for a single-entry Air Travel Pass (ATP) to enter Singapore, said the Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore, adding that they must be in Taiwan for 14 consecutive days before departure.

Upon arrival, visitors will undergo a COVID-19 polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test and if the result is negative, they will be allowed to go about their activities in Singapore without serving a stay-home notice.

As part of the contact tracing process, travellers from Taiwan must download and register for the TraceTogether app on their mobile devices before entering Singapore and keep it activated during their stay. They must not delete it for 14 consecutive days after leaving Singapore. 

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Source: CNA/agencies/ad


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