Taipei, A fifth patient has been confirmed to be infected with the new COVID-19 virus variant first detected in the United Kingdom, the Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) said Thursday.
The patient is a British man in his 30s who traveled to Taiwan on Dec. 30 to work and tested positive for the disease while in quarantine at a government center on Jan. 2, according to CECC data.
Genome sequencing concluded that he was infected with the U.K. variant of the COVID-19 virus on Thursday, CECC spokesperson Chuang Jen-hsiang (莊人祥) said at a press briefing.
Of the five individuals in Taiwan who have been infected with the U.K. variant, only one — a British man in his 70s — has been classified as a severe case, while the other four have only mild symptoms, according to Chuang.
The U.K. variant is believed to be more infectious than previous strains of the COVID-19 virus, although there is no evidence so far that suggests it causes more severe symptoms.
To prevent the variant from spreading in Taiwan, arrivals from the U.K., as well as travelers who have visited the country in the two weeks prior to coming to Taiwan, have been required to go into quarantine at government-designated centers from Dec. 23.
They are tested for COVID-19 on their first day of quarantine as well as prior to finishing their quarantine period, according to the CECC.
The CECC also tested all travelers with a U.K. travel history who entered Taiwan from Dec. 13-22 at the end of their quarantine period, with four exceptions, Chuang said.
Of the 212 tested, 210 tested negative for the disease, while two other tests are still being processed, Chuang said.
Four exceptions were a Taiwanese woman in her 30s who had already tested positive for COVID-19 in Taiwan in April after a previous visit to the U.K., as well as three others who were tested earlier during their quarantine because they had symptoms and were confirmed to have COVID-19 in late December.
Source: Focus Taiwan News Channel