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Airline fires pilot blamed for Taiwan's first COVID-19 case in months

Airline fires pilot blamed for Taiwan's first COVID-19 case in months

December 31, 2020: Island’s Eva Air fired a New Zealand pilot for causing Taiwan’s first domestic coronavirus transmission in months.

Contact of the Pilot tested positive on Tuesday, ending Taiwan’s 253-day streak without a local case.

Some public Christmas activities are suspended, and the government has suggested people stay at home during the beginning of 2021.

Overall, Taiwan has recorded only 777 infections and seven deaths.

The Pilot is thought to have contracted the coronavirus earlier. After a flight, pilots returning to the island are meant to remain in quarantine for three days but are not tested unless they show symptoms. He tested positive on December 20.

Unaware that he carried the virus, he continued to fly and was reportedly coughing on a flight to Taiwan from the US.

Two days later, Taiwan discovered its first domestic infection in months. Authorities traced back that the Pilot was in contact with the infected woman.

Health authorities have traced around 170 people who had contact with the infected woman, and they are either in-home quarantine or monitored for symptoms.

The company where the woman works has shut its gym, café, and canteen, restricted employees from eating at their desks, and banned visitors from entering its premises.

Authorities fined the man 300,000 Taiwanese dollars ($10,600, £7,900) for failing to declare contacts and activities to officials properly.

Eva Air fired the Pilot for violating operational principles, including his failure to wear a cockpit mask.

He probably has infected two of his colleagues, a pilot from Japan and Taiwan.

Neither authorities nor the airline has named the Pilot. Still, Eva Air said in a statement, “the behavior of an individual employee has undermined everyone’s efforts at epidemic prevention” and had brought “serious damage to the company’s reputation and image.”

Authorities are toughening the COVID-19 safety requirements for airlines after the new case emerged.

Taiwan is the most prosperous places in the world in dealing with Covid-19, attributed mainly to its early and strict border controls, a ban on foreign visitors, and mandatory quarantine for all Taiwanese returning home.

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