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16 Feb 2020 | 09:11 PM UTC

Taiwan: Officials confirm first coronavirus-related fatality February 16 /update 6

Health Minister confirms first fatality due to novel coronavirus (COVID-19) on February 16, total number of confirmed cases in Taiwan at 20; further spread of the virus expected in the near term

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TWN

Event

Health Minister Chen Shih-chung announced in a conference on Sunday, February 16, that a Taiwanese man had died due to novel coronavirus (COVID-19). He also confirmed that a family member of the deceased had tested positive for the virus, representing the first local transmission of COVID-19 in Taiwan. 

Health ministry officials reportedly said that they will begin testing all patients showing signs of any symptom associated with COVID-19 and who had recently traveled abroad as of Monday, February 17.

Officials have confirmed 20 cases of COVID-19 in Taiwan as of Monday. Further spread of the virus is to be expected over the coming days and weeks.

Context

The first case of COVID-19 was reported on December 31 and the source of the outbreak has been linked to a wet market in Wuhan (Hubei province, China). Human-to-human and patient-to-medical staff transmission of the virus have been confirmed. Many of the associated fatalities have been due to pneumonia caused by the virus.

Cases of the virus have been confirmed in 28 countries and territories worldwide. Virus screening and quarantining measures are being implemented at airports worldwide, as well as extensive travel restrictions. On February 11, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared that the COVID-19 outbreak is a "very grave threat."

Pneumonia symptoms include dry cough, chest pain, fever, and labored breathing. Pneumonia can be contagious and can be transmitted from human to human. The influenza virus, or the flu, is a common cause of viral pneumonia.

Advice

Individuals traveling to Taiwan are advised to keep abreast of the situation, respect government regulations, and contact their nearest embassy for further details. For information on documents required for special visas and official travel information, visit BOCA's website.

Individuals are advised to take precautionary measures to reduce their risk of contracting the virus:

  • Avoid all contact with animals (dead or alive); avoid eating animal products that are undercooked; avoid all markets where animals are sold
  • Avoid all close contact with people displaying symptoms of the disease (e.g. difficulties breathing)
  • Frequently wash hands and wear a face mask
  • Adhere to all instructions issued by the local authorities and their home governments
  • Travelers returning from China developing symptoms of pneumonia are advised to call emergency services before going to the doctor or hospital to avoid spreading the disease