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First Taiwan Patient In Eight Months Tests Positive For Covid-19

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First Taiwan Patient In Eight Months Tests Positive For Covid-19

Taiwan has registered its first locally transmitted case of Covid-19 in eight months.

The country's president Tsai Ing-wen urged citizens to remain calm on Wednesday (23 December) when news came that the first case since 12 April had been recorded.

Over the past few months, all new cases of the disease in Taiwan have been from people travelling into the country rather than those who already live there.

The latest case is a woman who is a friend of a New Zealand pilot, who also had the disease.

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According to the country's Health Minister Chen Shih-chung, 170 of the woman's contacts had been tested, with all but three tests - still outstanding - coming back negative.

The government criticised the New Zealand man, who works for Taiwan's EVA Airways Corp, for not recording all of his contacts and places he had been correctly, and not wearing a face covering when he should have been.

He was confirmed to have contracted the disease on Sunday (20 December) having travelled from the US.

The female patient is the first local case of the virus for eight months. Credit: PA
The female patient is the first local case of the virus for eight months. Credit: PA
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The man was fined T$300,000 (£7,800) for breaching Taiwanese rules regarding the pandemic.

President Tsai later urged people to continue to follow the health guidance being offered.

She told reporters: "This case has a confirmed source of infection. Please don't panic excessively."

It's understood that despite the case, the country still plans to hold its New Year's Eve celebrations in Taipei later this month.

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Over in the UK, where there have been many more cases of the deadly disease, the UK government announced that Tier Four restrictions would be expanded across more parts of England.

Speaking during a coronavirus briefing, Health Secretary Matt Hancock said the rate of infection had increased significantly in areas beyond the South-East, and action was needed.

Mr Hancock announced that Sussex, Oxfordshire, Suffolk, Norfolk, Cambridgeshire, Essex, Waverley, and Hampshire will move to Tier Four from 00.01 on Boxing Day.

While Bristol, Gloucestershire, Somerset, Swindon, the Isle of Wight, New Forest, Northamptonshire, Cheshire, and Warrington will be placed in Tier Three.

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He also confirmed that Cornwall and Herefordshire would move to Tier Two.

Matt Hancock announced that Tier Four measures would be expanded to other parts of England. Credit: PA
Matt Hancock announced that Tier Four measures would be expanded to other parts of England. Credit: PA

Aside from the changes to the tiering system, Mr Hancock also said another new variant of the deadly disease had been imported from South Africa, and that it was even more transmissible than the UK mutation.

He ordered anyone who has been to South Africa or had any contact with anyone from South Africa in recent weeks to fully quarantine immediately.

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Mr Hancock said: "We are incredibly grateful to the South African government for their science.

"This virus is yet more transmissible and appears to have mutated further than the new virus."

The Deputy Chief Medical Officer Dr Jennifer Harries said the number of cases continued to rise at a 'very rapid pace' over the last week, especially in London and the South-East, as well as parts of Wales.

However, in more positive news, the Health Secretary did confirm that vaccinations were now being rolled out into care homes, with the Chelsea Pensioners receiving the jab.

Featured Image Credit: PA

Topics: New Zealand, Coronavirus, Australia, Politics, Health, Covid-19

Dominic Smithers
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