Taiwan experiences first home case of Delta Covid variant


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Taiwan reported its first domestically transmitted case of the highly contagious Delta variant of the coronavirus on Saturday and tightened controls in a southern part of the island where the cases have occurred.

Taiwan is struggling with a buildup of infections domestically, almost all due to the previously globally dominant alpha variant, although the numbers are stabilizing and the outbreak has been comparatively small.

Six people in Pingtung County have been confirmed to have the Delta variant, including two who returned this month from Peru, where they are suspected of bringing the infection, Health Minister Chen Shih-chung said.

One of these was classified as a domestic infection and not within the family that arrived from Peru.

The government is conducting mass tests in the area where the cases were reported and is quarantining all suspected contacts. It has ordered supermarkets, restaurants and wet markets to be closed for three days, Chen said.

“Now it has invaded the community and we are proactively working to contain it,” he said.

Taiwan had previously reported five cases, all of which were imported, of the Delta variant first discovered in India.

Starting Sunday, the government will tighten border controls to keep the variant out, requiring arrivals from five countries, including the UK, to be moved to central quarantine facilities.

The Delta variant now includes 96% of the UK sequenced cases.

The overall picture of the Covid-19 outbreak in Taiwan continues to improve, with Chen announcing 78 new cases, up from 76 the previous day, marginally, although controls for gatherings and public events remain in place.

Taiwan’s number of infections since the pandemic began stands at 14,545, including 623 deaths.

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