Taiwan’s Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) announced today that a close contact of a person who tested positive for Covid-19 has contracted the virus domestically, the first such transmission reported in 253 days.

The last local infection before today was announced on April 12. The CECC has since then announced several hundred cases from people who tested positive on arriving in Taiwan, and 52 people who contracted Covid-19 abroad have been reported since November 1.

Health Minister Chen Shih-chung said a woman in her 30s tested positive. She was confirmed to have had close contact with a pilot from New Zealand, who had reportedly contracted Covid-19 in the United States before flying into Taiwan. The pilot is currently hospitalized.

Two others contracted the virus from the pilot on a flight from the United States to Taiwan on December 15. He first returned to Taiwan from the United States on December 4 and left again for the United States on December 12.

The CECC has identified three public places that the pilot visited between December 8 and 11: Shin Kong Mitsukoshi shopping mall in Tianmu, December 8 between 11:30 a.m. and 12:30 p.m; SOGO Department Store in Tianmu, December 10 between 4:30 p.m. and 5:30 p.m.; and Costo in Nankan, Taoyuan December 11 between 11:00 a.m. and 12:00 p.m.

Chen advised that those who have been to these places at these times should monitor their health and visit a testing site if they display symptoms before December 25.

The pilot was not fully honest in reporting his contacts and places he visited before testing positive for Covid-19 and is likely to be penalized, the CECC said.

Asked if controls will be tightened in response to this case during the daily briefing on the pandemic, Chen said that there should be no new prevention measures, though he will soon discuss with relevant government bodies any further measures addressed for the New Year and Spring Festival.

Huang Shan-shan, Deputy Mayor of Taipei, said the New Year's Eve countdown party in Taipei will not be canceled, but participants must wear masks at the venue or they will be subject to fines.

The CECC also announced today three cases in travelers arriving from the Philippines and Marshall Islands. Taiwan has to date reported 771 infections, including 65 local cases, and 7 deaths.

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TNL Editor: Bryan Chou, Nicholas Haggerty (@thenewslensintl)

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