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Taiwan quarantines 5,000 over the hospital’s COVID-19 cluster

FILE PHOTO: A man wears a protective mask to prevent the spread of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) while shopping ahead of Chinese New Year in Taipei, Taiwan, January 20, 2021. REUTERS / Ann Wang / File Photo

TAIPEI (Reuters) – Taiwan will more than double the number of people to be quarantined at home to more than 5,000 as it seeks to contain a rare domestic cluster of COVID-19s linked to a hospital, the health minister said Sunday.

While Taiwan has kept the pandemic well under control thanks to early and effective prevention, with the vast majority of its 890 infections imported cases, it has since January 1

2 dealt with a small number of domestic transmissions in a hospital.

While the 15 people so far infected at the hospital in the northern city of Taoyuan are small compared to many other parts of the world, it has avoided the government, which has canceled many major events related to the coming lunar New Year.

Health Minister Chen Shih-chung told reporters they will expand the number of people to be quarantined at home for 14 days who may have had contact with the infected patients from the hospital cluster.

He set the number at about 5,000 people against approx. 1,300 who are currently in quarantine.

The government has tested all those who have been in quarantine and has announced new cases among them when they are confirmed.

Taiwan has a well-developed system to track those who have been in contact with confirmed cases and an electronic surveillance network to ensure that those in quarantine remain at home.

Despite the new infections, Taiwan has only 95 active cases being treated in the hospital. The government holds news conferences to announce details of each new infection.

Reporting by Ben Blanchard; editing by David Evans

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