People from COVID-19 cluster took Taipei MRT, visited restaurants: CECC

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Taipei, May 2 (CNA) Two of four people confirmed on Sunday as domestic cases of COVID-19 had visited restaurants in Taipei and traveled on the city’s public transport before testing positive for the disease, according to the Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC).

The two are the son and daughter of a housekeeper at a hotel in Taoyuan Airport, where a COVID-19 cluster has emerged over the past week, the CECC said.

The employee, a Taiwanese in her 60s, tested positive last Friday. Her son, a man in his 30s, developed a cough and muscle aches on April 29, while the daughter, also in her 30s, had a sore throat and fever on April 28 and 29.

They were both confirmed on Sunday, along with two others, to have contracted COVID-19 locally, according to the CECC.

On April 27, the son took a bus in Taipei around noon, withdrew money from an ATM at a 7-Eleven on Guangfu North Road, and had lunch at Balle Balle Indian Restaurant & Bar on the same street, said the CCCB.

On April 28 and 29, he took buses between his home and his workplace around noon and late at night, the CECC said.

The employee’s daughter, meanwhile, took the Taipei Mass Rapid Transit (MRT) to work on April 26, 27 and 28, boarding at Dingxi Station, transferring to Guting and alighting at Ximen, according to the CCCB.

The CECC said it was still trying to determine the exact times she took the MRT and the mode of transportation she used to get home.

On the evening of April 26, she ate at a restaurant called 72 degrees Celsius Sous Vide on Baoping Street in New Taipei, CECC said.

People who had been to these places at around the same time should closely monitor their health and see a doctor if they develop symptoms such as fever, difficulty breathing and diarrhea before May 12, Minister of Health and Welfare Chen Shih-chung), who heads the CECC, said at a press briefing.

The two cases are among the latest linked to China Airlines (CAL), one of Taiwan’s major carriers, and the Novotel Taipei Taoyuan International Airport hotel, which is part of the carrier’s complex in Taoyuan.

On Sunday, four employees of the Novotel hotel, three members of their family, 10 CAL pilots and seven of the pilots’ relatives had tested positive for COVID-19, according to the CECC.

The cases of Novotel employees, their family members and relatives of the pilots are considered domestic cases, but the CECC has yet to categorize the pilots’ infections, including one confirmed in Australia.

The CECC said that because some of the CAL pilots stayed at the Novotel before testing positive and the virus genome sequencing in the pilots and a hotel employee matched, there is a possibility that the cases could be connected, but the chain of infection is still not clear.

People should be on high alert until mid-May regarding these cases, Chen said.

Also on Sunday, CECC said a student at JinWen University of Science and Technology in New Taipei, who works as an intern at Novotel, was sent to a government quarantine center for 14 days.

Ninety-one teachers and students from the school, who visited the Novotel and had dinner there on April 27, were asked not to enter the university campus for two weeks, during which their lessons will be held virtually, said the CCCB.

Another Novotel intern, who studies at Taipei University of Chinese Culture, is in quarantine at his home, according to the CECC.

(By Chiang Yi-ching)

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