Taiwan timely identifies first imported case of 2019 novel coronavirus infection returning from Wuhan, China through onboard quarantine; Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) raises travel notice level for Wuhan, China to Level 3: Warning


On January 21, 2020, the Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) announced the first confirmed imported case of 2019 novel coronavirus infection(2019-nCoV) in Taiwan. The case is an over-50-year-old female who resides in southern Taiwan and works in Wuhan, China. On January 20, she took a flight back to Taiwan from Wuhan. Due to her self-reported and observed symptoms, including fever, cough, and shortness of breath, she was transferred to a designated hospital by the airport quarantine officer after arrival. A chest X-ray confirmed that she had pneumonia. In addition, infection with 2019-nCoV was laboratory-confirmed in the case on January 21. As of now, she is being treated in a negative pressure isolation room at the hospital. As the transfer from airplane to the hospital was specially arranged, the patient did not lead to any contact in the community. The public is urged to remain calm.

CECC pointed out that the hospital and the corresponding local health authority have both followed the standard operation procedures to report the case, collect specimens from the case, treat the case in isolation, conduct epidemiological investigation, and follow up the 46 contacts on the same flight. The isolation will only be lifted after the patient is symptom-free and tested negative for 2019-nCoV twice. Concerning Taiwan’s first confirmed case, CECC has simultaneously notified the World Health Organization (WHO) through the National IHR Foal Point.

As the number of cases in Wuhan is increasing rapidly, a leading infectious disease expert in china have strongly advised travelers against visiting Wuhan. On January 21, WHO furthen pointed out that the 2019-nCoV might have sustained human-to-human transmission. As the first imported case from Wuhan has been confirmed in Taiwan, CECC announced raising the travel notice level for Wuhan to Level 3: Warning, reminding the public to avoid all non-essential travels to Wuhan.

As the pneumonia outbreak caused by 2019-nCoV in China has obviously resulted in community transmission and spread, CECC will continue to integrate resources across government agencies, reinforce implementation of quarantine measures at international including cross-strait airports and ports, reinforce risk communication with the public and public awareness about the disease, ensure the preparation of pharmaceutical and medical supplies to prevent the occurrence of fake news concerning mask shortages and price gouging and reduce public panic, and plan and conduct drills for hospital infection control at healthcare facilities in order to minimize the impact of the outbreak on Taiwan, tackle the threats and challenges posed by the outbreak, and ensure the health of the Taiwanese public.

Taiwan CDC recommeds travelers visiting Wuhan or other neighboring areas in China wash hands thoroughly with soap, wear a face 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, please voluntarily notify the quarantine officer at the airport/port. If the aforementioned 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 and prompt case-reporting. For more information on 2019-nCoV, 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).