TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — Seven new cases of Wuhan coronavirus (COVID-19) were confirmed Saturday (Aug. 1), with six listed as imported, but the origin of one case still to be determined, throwing doubt on Taiwan’s record of 110 consecutive days without local transmissions.
The new cases, most imported from Guatemala and the Philippines, brought the total number of infections in Taiwan to 474, the Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) said at a news conference.
However, a Belgian man who was confirmed as having the coronavirus had already spent two months in Taiwan, making it unclear where he had been infected, and whether he should be counted as an imported case or as a domestic transmission. In the latter case, he would be the first domestic infection since April 12.
Media reports Friday (July 31) evening suggested a European engineer working in Central Taiwan on a wind power project showed symptoms of the coronavirus, as he was tested ahead of his return home. He turned out to be Case No. 469, a Belgian who had been in contact with 89 people during his work and on trips between his workplace and head office in the Taipei area, reports said.
A total of 82 of the contacts were isolating at home, while 17 had already been tested, said Health and Welfare Minister Chen Shih-chung (陳時中), who heads the CECC.
Saturday’s new cases not only featured a Belgian, but also other foreign citizens, including one from Guatemala, plus a worker and a sailor from the Philippines, who was quarantined on board his ship. One of the new Taiwanese cases had returned from the Philippines, according to the CECC.
The death toll remains at seven, with 382 cases imported, 55 local, 36 originating from the Taiwan Navy’s “Goodwill Fleet,” and Saturday’s case still to be determined.
The number of travelers entering the country rose during the month of July, the Liberty Times reported, accounting for 20 new imported cases.