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Nation’s 254-day COVID free streak ends


One of the most successful countries in the world at tackling coronavirus has seen its winning streak dashed - with the finger being pointed at a New Zealand pilot.

Taiwan has reported its first case of community transmission of COVID-19 since April, ending an extraordinary run of 254 virus-free days. To put that in comparison, the Australian Capital Territory, the part of Australia least affected by COVID, last recorded a local case a mere 165 days ago.


The island nation off the coast of China has had just 770 cases since the pandemic began. That has been put down to Taiwan's expertise at dealing with airborne viruses having been in proximity to previous outbreaks such as SARS and avian flu.

Taiwan also acted quickly early in the outbreak, banning flights from Wuhan - the epicentre of the pandemic - two days before even Wuhan went into lockdown.

The country's health ministry said on Tuesday that a woman in her 30s had become infected after she came into contact with a foreign pilot.

New Zealand website Stuff reported the pilot was a Kiwi who tested positive after he returned on a flight from the US last week. He is said to have met the woman in Taiwan.

The New Zealand Herald reported the man initially had been unable to recall all his activities in Taiwan or who he had met.

According to l ocal media, contact tracers have now confirmed the man went to a number of stores, including a Costco, while potentially infectious.

RELATED: Australian living on Taiwanese island, just kilometres from communist China

Taiwan has been praised globally for its success in combating COVID-19. Picture: iStock.
Taiwan has been praised globally for its success in combating COVID-19. Picture: iStock.

The fresh case has led 167 people who came into contact with the woman to be tested. New Taipei City, close to the capital, has announced all outdoor gatherings will be halted immediately in a large Christmas-themed park to combat any spread.

Taiwan last reported a case of community transmission on April 12. The nation has seen just seven deaths, more than 10 times fewer than Australia.

Earlier this month, the authorities in Taiwan fined a man $4800 for breaking strict coronavirus restrictions for just eight seconds.

The worker from the Philippines was in quarantine when he left his room and stepped into a hotel hallway. Despite the short amount of time outside, he was still made to cough up, Taiwan's Central News Agency reported.

Originally published as Nation's 254-day COVID free streak ends

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