Fourteen imported cases reported, including one local pilot

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OMICRON ADDITIONS:
Two other people, both fully vaccinated, have been identified among the previous cases as having been infected with the Omicron variant.

  • By Lee I-chia / Journalist

Fourteen imported cases of COVID-19, including a pilot from a Taiwan-based airline, were reported by the Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) yesterday, as the center’s chief, Minister of Health and Welfare Chen Shih-chung (陳 時 中), said Taiwan will not follow the US policy of shortening isolation and quarantine periods at this time.

The 14 imported cases are 10 people who traveled from the United States and one from Hong Kong, Germany, Thailand and Vietnam, Chen said.

Centers for Disease Control (CDC) deputy director general Philip Lo (羅一鈞), deputy head of the CECC’s medical intervention division, said one of the cases – a Taiwanese man in his thirties who returned from the United States – is a Taiwanese commercial airline pilot.

Photo: ANC

The pilot flew to and from Chicago between December 10 and 13, and to and from New York City between December 17 and Wednesday last week, Lo said.

The pilot remained in a quarantine hotel between the two flight periods, and he had been in a mandatory five-day hotel quarantine since Wednesday last week, which was to be followed by nine days of improved self-health management. , Lo said.

He tested positive at the end of his quarantine on Monday, Lo said.

The pilot received a second dose of the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine in late July, so he was not yet eligible for a booster, Lo said.

So far, 99.7% of Taiwan-based airline pilots and 99.8% of flight attendants have been fully vaccinated, he said.

As the recommended interval between the second injection and a booster injection is at least five months, the current booster vaccination rate is 18.5% for pilots and 24.5% for flight attendants, did he declare.

Among the previous cases, two more people have been identified as having been infected with the Omicron variant of SARS-CoV-2 – both arriving from the United States and fully vaccinated, he said.

Fifty cases of Omicron have been identified, all within six days of arriving in Taiwan, including 42 people who tested positive for COVID-19 in the first test upon arrival, Lo said, adding that 47 were infections. revolutionary vaccines, while three had received one. dose of vaccine.

He said 21 cases were asymptomatic and 29 had mild symptoms.

Asked about former Minister of Health and Welfare Yaung Chih-liang (楊志良) who yesterday filed a petition to Control Yuan claiming that people’s constitutional rights would be violated by the CECC’s policy of asking people in 24 kinds of work to be fully vaccinated by Saturday, Chen said the CCCB is carrying out its administrative duties according to the law.

Citing article 23 of the Constitution, which states that freedoms and rights shall not be restricted by law, except as may be necessary to avoid an imminent crisis, to maintain social order or to advance the public welfare, Chen said the policy is necessary for the good of public health and the CECC “does not require them, but their demand” to be vaccinated.

“The current global COVID-19 situation is very serious, so don’t assume it has nothing to do with us just because Taiwan hasn’t reported local infections recently,” he said. “We must be careful at all times, because the pandemic can change quickly, and it would be too late to start practicing preventive measures if a local epidemic did occur.”

When asked if Taiwan could follow the US policy of reducing the isolation and quarantine time to five days, Chen replied that Taiwan would not do so at this time.

However, Omicron could have a shorter incubation period, he said.

The ‘7 + 7 (+7)’ quarantine option for the Lunar New Year holidays is the most tolerant of its restrictions for inbound travelers – allowing flexibility in quarantine locations, but a 14-day quarantine remains. in place for all, he said.

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