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.
Yeh Shiou-hwei, a microbiology professor at National Taiwan University, was quoted as saying the DNA sequencing is like doing a “paternity test” by comparing it to other coronavirus cases found around the globe.
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“It is closer to those found in coronavirus infection samples in Europe, including those in Italy, Brazil and Nigeria,” said Yeh.
Source: Al Jazeera