In response to the ongoing severe special infectious pneumonia outbreak in Wuhan, China, Taiwan sent the Commander Chuang Yin-ching (莊銀清) of the Communicable Disease Control Medical Network and the medical officer Hung Min-nan (洪敏南) from the Taiwan Centers for Disease Control (Taiwan CDC) to visit Wuhan, China to obtain more comprehensive information of the outbreak. In the morning of January 16, 2020, the two experts hosted a press conference after their return to Taiwan. During their visit, besides understanding the latest development of the outbreak and the prevention and control measures implemented in Wuhan, the two experts also visited the local hospital and the negative pressure ward in order to better understand the treatment process of the cases and the nosocomial infection control measures implemented at the hospital.
On January 15, 2020, Taiwan CDC was notified by the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention that the total number of cases of the novel coronavirus-associated pneumonia remained at 41, including 6 severe cases, 1 deaths, and 7 cases that had been discharged from the hospital. On the other hand, on January 16, 2020, Japan announced the first imported case of the Wuhan novel coronavirus. The case developed fever during his stay in Wuhan, but he did not visit the Huanan Seafood Market, which is linked to most cases. Nevertheless, it was possible that he came into close contact with patients of unexplained pneumonia. Taiwan CDC will continuously closely monitor the development of the case. Since confirmed cases that had not visited the Huanan Seafood Market have been subsequently reported in Thailand and Japan, limited human-to-human spread in Wuhan cannot be ruled out. Additionally, as the source of infection is still under investigation, Taiwan CDC has raised the travel notice level for Wuhan City to Level 2: Alert, advising travelers planning to recently visit Wuhan and other neighboring areas in China to take personal precautions to ward off infection.
Taiwan CDC has increased vigilance for suspected cases at international and three-small-link airports and ports, inquiring all arrival passengers with fever of their history of travel, occupation, contact, and cluster (TOCC) and evaluating their health. All travelers who have visited Wuhan, China and developed symptoms such as fever or coughing are urged to voluntarily notify the quarantine officers at the airport of their symptoms regardless of whether they are on any medications in order to assist the unwell passengers in seeking appropriate medical attention and assessing their health. Since December 31, 2019, Taiwan CDC has been implementing onboard quarantine of all direct flights arriving from Wuhan. Thus far, a total of 26 flights and 2,845 passengers and cabin crews have been inspected. A total of 13 individuals have displayed symptoms. Among them, 7 individuals have been removed from the follow-up list. As the other 6 individuals have had improvement in symptoms or recovered, hospital visit has been deemed unnecessary for them. Nonetheless, they will be continuously followed up by the local health bureau. As of now, 9 individuals who have met the reporting criteria of “a pneumonia case with fever and travel history to Wuhan, China” have all been tested negative for the 2019 novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV). In other words, there is currently no confirmed case of the 2019 novel coronavirus in Taiwan.
Taiwan CDC advises travelers planning to visit Wuhan or other neighboring areas in China to avoid visiting live poultry markets and avoid contact with wild animals and poultry, and take appropriate personal precautions to ward off infection. If the suspected symptoms develop within 14 days after returning to Taiwan, please put on a surgical mask and seek immediate medical attention. Moreover, please inform the physician of any history of travel, occupation, contact, and cluster (TOCC) to facilitate timely diagnosis, prompt case-reporting, and comprehensive treatment. For more information, please visit the Taiwan CDC website at http://www.cdc.gov.tw or call the toll-free Communicable Disease Reporting and Consultation Hotline, 1922 (or 0800-001922).