Egypt ‘likely source’ of coronavirus in Taiwan patient: doctors

Taiwan's findings contradict officials who said a Taiwanese woman was likely the source of Egyptian infections.

Al[ Jazeera
Date: 8 Mar 2020
By: Ali Younes

Pre/sident Tsai Ing-wen addresses the coronavirus situation in Taiwan last month [File: Fabian Hamacher/Reuters]

Taiwan's government said on Sunday that an elderly Taiwanese woman who was part of a tour group in Egypt was likely infected with the COVID-19 virus while there last month and unlikely the source of infection of 12 Egyptian crew on a Nile cruise.

Egyptian Health Minister Hala Zayed said in a statement on Friday the Taiwanese tourist was the source of the infection of 12 Egyptian cruise ship workers. One person died in Egypt on Sunday – a German tourist – and the number of infections jumped from three to 45 in one day, according to the Egyptian government.

But Taiwan's Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) said it tested the Taiwanese woman, also known as "Patient 39", and sequenced the DNA of the virus strain found in her blood. That showed her infection had little similarity with the strain found in other Taiwanese patients.

The CECC findings contradict Egyptian and World Health Organization officials who said the Taiwanese woman was likely the source of infection of the Egyptian citizens.

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