Airline Sacks pilot blamed Taiwan’s first COVID-19 infection since April

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The pilot is said to have coughed during a flight to the United States on December 12th. (Representative)

Taipei:

A pilot accused of infecting two colleagues and causing Taiwan’s first local coronavirus transmission since April was fired on Wednesday, his airline said.

The island’s clean streak of 253 days with no local Covid-19 infections ended Tuesday after a local woman who had contact with the pilot, a New Zealander, tested positive.

The man who worked for Taiwan’s EVA Airways was fined $ 300,000 ($ 10,600) for failing to “truthfully” state his contacts and activities to health officials when he learned he was infected was.

The airline said in a statement that it had violated pandemic prevention regulations and “seriously damaged the company’s reputation and image”.

The New Zealander didn’t wear a mask on duty earlier this month, despite being reminded by a Taiwanese pilot who, along with a Japanese colleague, also tested positive, according to EVA Airways.

He is said to have coughed during a flight to the United States on December 12th.

Health Minister Chen Shih-chung said Wednesday that 170 out of 173 people who had contact with the infected woman on site had tested negative for the virus, with three results pending.

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Authorities said the pilot visited multiple locations, including two department stores, but claimed he couldn’t remember where he was. He also failed to disclose his contact with the woman.

Pilots arriving in Taiwan are currently only quarantined for three days after each international trip compared to the stricter two-week requirement for other international travelers. The authorities are now planning to tighten these rules.

The infection is a blow to an island that has been lauded for its pandemic response. It recorded just 776 coronavirus cases and seven deaths after closing its borders early and implementing strict quarantine rules.

As of April 12, all positive cases have come from a small number of locals returning to the island as well as the few foreigners who have been admitted for business reasons.

(Except for the headline, this story was not edited by GossipMantri staff and published from a syndicated feed.)

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