COVID-19

Taiwan counts 10 COVID-19 cases linked to PH in July

Sofia Tomacruz
Taiwan also earlier put in place travel restrictions specific to the Philippines

Taiwan, hailed globally for its efficient response to the coronavirus pandemic, counted at least 10 new coronavirus cases in July linked to travelers who came from the Philippines. 

On Tuesday, July 28, the Taiwan Centers for Disease Control (CDC) said 4 out of 5 new imported cases reported on that day involved people who arrived from the Philippines. The fifth case came from Hong Kong. 

This is on top of 6 other imported cases who had travel histories to the Philippines and were confirmed positive with COVID-19 last July 16 (1 case) and 17 (2 cases), and July 24 (3 cases). The 10 Filipinos make for half of the 20 imported cases seen in the territory in July. 

Taiwan has so far reported a total of 467 confirmed cases, 376 of which were imported while 55  were “indigenous.” The other 36 comprised of crew members aboard the Panshi fast combat support ship, said the Taiwan CDC. 

Latest cases

In a case advisory, the Taiwan CDC said its case 463 was an over 50-year-old male who visited the Philippines for work in March. The man returned returned to Taiwan on July 26 and was found to have a slightly elevated temperature at the airport. 

He was then tested and taken to a quarantine facility, and was confirmed positive on July 28.

Case 465 was an over 30-year-old male who visited the Philippines for work in January. The man was reported to have sought medical attention for “abnormal sense of smell and taste” in the Philippines on June 16 and was tested the same day, but found to be negative. 

The same man returned to Taiwan on July 26 and reported previous symptoms to Taiwan’s quarantine officers who arranged for testing and accommodations in a quarantine facility. He was confirmed positive on July 28.

Meanwhile, cases 466 and 477 were a couple both over 70 years old. The Taiwan CDC said they traveled to the Philippines to visit relatives in January and returned to Taiwan on July 26.

Case 466, a man, did not have any symptoms upon entry, while case 467, a female, reported her symptoms to quarantine officers before boarding and upon entry. 

Testing was arranged and the man was taken to a quarantine hotel, while the woman was taken to a quarantine facility. Both were confirmed positive on July 28.

All 4 travelers who arrived from the Philippine are currently hospitalized for medical treatment

Taiwan’s response

Due to the number of imported cases linked to the Philippines in July, Taiwan’s Central Epidemic Command Center announced travel restrictions specific to the Philippines would be implemented starting July 26. 

Under these restrictions, travelers from the Philippines will be subjecteds to the following existing quarantine guidelines in Taiwan: 

1. Both Taiwanese and foreigners allowed to enter must have their specimens collected upon arrival whether or not they have symptoms. 

Those with symptoms will be brought to a group quarantine facility where they will await test results, while asymptomatic individuals shall undergo 14-day home quarantine at home or at a quarantine hotel.

2. Foreigners without resident’s certificates must provide a certificate of a negative COVID-19 test result issued within 3 days before they are allowed to board their flight, board their transit flight, or enter Taiwan. 

The Taiwanese government said those who enter must also undergo home quarantine for 14 days after entry into the country. 

Like Taiwan, Hong Kong earlier included the Philippines among only 7 countries whose nationals must comply with coronavirus-related entry requirements. 

As international travels slowly restarts, at least 35 countries have allowed Filipino travelers to enter their territories. – Rappler.com

Sofia Tomacruz

Sofia Tomacruz covers foreign affairs and is the lead reporter on the coronavirus pandemic. She also writes stories on the treatment of women and children. Follow her on Twitter via @sofiatomacruz. Email her at sofia.tomacruz@rappler.com.