|Staff members, wearing protective masks amid the coronavirus disease (Covid-19) pandemic, clean at the Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport in Taoyuan, Taiwan, January 7, 2021.(File photo by= Reuters/Ann Wang)|
[Asia News Communication = Reporter Reakkana] Taiwan health authorities said on Wednesday (Jan 13) they had confirmed the first case of the highly transmissible South African variant of COVID-19, in an eSwatini national being treated in hospital.
The infection with the variant had been confirmed on Tuesday by a laboratory test, the Central Epidemic Command Centre said. The man in his 30s had arrived in Taiwan to work on Dec 24 and began developing symptoms while in quarantine and was initially confirmed to have COVID-19 on Jan 3, according to details previously released by the government. The small southern African country of eSwatini, formerly known as Swaziland, is Taiwan's only remaining diplomatically on the continent. Prime Minister Ambrose Dlamini died in a South African hospital last month after testing positive for COVID-19.
Separately, the command centre said that from Thursday anyone arriving from South Africa or eSwatini, or who had been there within the previous 14 days, would have to quarantine at a centralised facility, which already applies to travellers coming from Britain. Taiwan has reported 843 COVID-19 cases including seven deaths. Almost all the cases have been imported and about 100 people are being treated in hospital.