April 22, 2024
 A chef wearing a face mask looks out from a restaurant window on December 23, in Tokyo, Japan.

Japan records new record high of Covid-19 cases as experts urge public to cancel holiday travel

An EVA Air logo seen at Evergreen House in London.
An EVA Air logo seen at Evergreen House in London. Dave Rushen/SOPA Images/LightRocket/Getty Images

Taiwanese airline EVA Air has dismissed a pilot who failed to follow Taiwan’s Covid-19 control measures and was connected to the island’s first locally transmitted case since April, the state-run Central News Agency (CNA) reported Wednesday.

CNA reported the company dismissed the New Zealand pilot, who did not wear a mask and infected two colleagues.

The pilot, aged in his 60s, also failed to disclose information to the company and health officials.

What’s the background? On Tuesday, Taiwan’s Health Ministry announced that it had recorded its first locally-transmitted coronavirus case since April.

The island has had one of the most successful pandemic responses in the world, and the new infection ended a 255-day run without local transmission, underscoring the difficulties in controlling the virus even in areas where it has been largely stamped out.

Who was infected? According to the Health Ministry statement, a woman in her 30s was infected after having contact with the foreign pilot, who also tested positive for the virus, between December 8 and 12. Contact tracing investigators found the pilot had visited “multiple public places” during that time period. 

The pilot flew to the United States on November 29 and returned to Taiwan on December 4. He underwent Covid-19 testing on December 18 and tested positive for antibodies on December 20.

Possible fine: The pilot may also face a fine of 60,000 to 300,000 New Taiwan dollars ($2,100 to $10,600) for “failing to inform” authorities of his complete contact and activity history during the contact tracing investigation.