Taiwan probes possible first local COVID-19 case in one month as imported cases rise

TAIPEI: Taiwan on Tuesday (Jul 28) was investigating its first possible local coronavirus infection in more than a month, a Thai man who tested positive last week, as the island also faces a rise in cases brought from overseas.

Taiwan’s early response was effective in keeping the pandemic at bay, with just 467 infections and seven deaths. Most of the cases have been imported and have recovered.

Until the Thai man’s positive test, the island had not seen a local case of coronavirus infection since Jun 24.

Taiwan’s Central Epidemic Command Centre said it was probing where and how the man contracted the virus. The migrant worker arrived on the island in January and tested positive on Jul 25, shortly after returning to Thailand.

More than 180 people who had contact with him in Taiwan have undergone health screenings, the centre said.

“We will make all necessary checks, clarifying how he got infected and whether there is a possibility for further contagion,” the centre’s deputy chief, Chuang Jen-hsiang, told reporters in Taipei.

Taiwan also reported five new coronavirus cases on Tuesday, all imported and marking the biggest daily rise in infections since mid-April. The new cases were people who had returned to Taiwan from the Philippines and Hong Kong.

Taiwan has largely closed its borders since mid-March and the government has been cautious about reopening them in case of a second wave of infections. It now has only 20 active cases.

Life in Taiwan has been less disrupted than in countries with strict lockdowns. The government, though, has encouraged social distancing and face masks are widely worn in public.

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