In response to the first confirmed imported case of 2019 novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) infection in Taiwan who returned from Wuhan, China, Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) continues to integrate resources across government agencies and reinforce quarantine measures at international (including cross-strait) airports and ports as well as risk communication with the public and public awareness about the disease in order to reduce public panic. Such efforts also include planning and conducting drills for hospital infection control at healthcare facilities to minimize the impact of the outbreak on Taiwan and to thoroughly safeguard prevention work and further protect the health of the Taiwanese public. CECC pointed out that there is a sufficient number of surgical masks and the public is advised to remain calm and not rush to buy them. The Taiwan Centers for Disease Control (Taiwan CDC) began distributing surgical masks to the logistic centers for convenience stores starting from January 22, 2020 and surgical masks will be available for purchase in convenience stores. One million surgical masks will be released for sale on January 22 and January 23 respectively. An additional number of one million surgical masks will be released every week starting from January 30 to March 20.
CECC indicated that a total of 440 cases of 2019-nCoV infection have been confirmed in China according to the reporting data provided by the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention, including 9 deaths. These cases include 258 patients in Wuhan City, 12 in Huanggang City, 17 in Guangdong Province, 6 in Shanghai City, 10 in Beijing City, 5 in Zhejiang Province and Chongqing City respectively, 2 in Tianjin City, Sichuan Province and Jiangxi Province respectively and 1 in Henan Province, Yunnan Province, Shandong Province and Hunan Province respectively while the location of remaining cases has not been disclosed. As of writing, a total of 9 cases with history of travel to Wuhan have been reported in other countries and areas, including 4 cases in Thailand and 1 case in Taiwan, Japan, South Korea, the United States and Macau respectively.
In light of the pneumonia outbreak in Wuhan, CECC continues bolstering outbreak surveillance and border quarantine measures and inquiring travelers arriving in Taiwanwith fever through international (including cross-strait) airports and ports about history of travel to Wuhan and conducting their health assessment. Onboard quarantine of all direct flights arriving from Wuhan has been implemented since December 31, 2019. Thus far, a total of 37 flights and 4,469 passengers and cabin crews have been inspected without new additional case of hospitalization. 9 cases of 2019-nCoV infection reported before the epidemic was categorized as communicable disease in law have been removed from the follow-up list. As of now, a total of 21 suspected cases have been reported after the statutory categorization of 2019-nCoV, including 8 individuals removed from the follow-up list, 12 individuals in isolation for lab tests, and 1 confirmed cases announced as the first imported case on January 21. The patient is now receiving treatment in a negative pressure ward at the hospital and 46 individuals who had contact with the case did not develop any symptoms except for 1 with a mild cough without fever.
CECC urges the public that the travel notice level for Wuhan has been raised to Level 3: Warning, recommending the public to avoid all non-essential travels to Wuhan. Travelers visiting Wuhan are advised to wash hands thoroughly with soap, wear a surgical mask and seek medical attention when coughing, avoid contact with wild animals and patients with acute respiratory infections and avoid visiting traditional markets and healthcare facilities throughout the trip. If symptoms such as fever or cough develop upon arriving in Taiwan from Wuhan or other neighboring areas in China, whether or not cough or fever medicines have been taken, please voluntarily notify the quarantine officer at the airport/port to receive health assessment. If the aforementioned symptoms develop within 14 days after returning to Taiwan, please call the toll-free Communicable Disease Reporting and Consultation Hotline, 1922 (or 0800-001922) and put on a surgical mask and seek immediate medical attention as instructed. Moreover, please inform the physician of any history of travel, occupation, contact, and cluster (TOCC) to facilitate timely diagnosis and prompt case-reporting. For more information on 2019-nCoV, please visit the Taiwan CDC website at http://www.cdc.gov.tw.