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Taiwan confirms second domestic case of Wuhan coronavirus

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Minister of Health and Welfare Chen Shih-chung (right)/Photo courtesy of CNA

Taipei, Jan. 30 (CNA) Taiwan on Thursday confirmed its second domestic case of the 2019 novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV), which was spread in a family setting in central Taiwan, bringing the total number of patients to nine.

The woman, in her 40s, is believed to have contracted the virus from her husband, who returned from the Chinese city of Wuhan Jan. 12 and developed respiratory symptoms on Jan. 22 that were not immediately identified as 2019-nCoV by the doctor after seeking treatment, said Minister of Health and Welfare Chen Shih-chung.

The symptoms the husband had were too mild to qualify as a suspected 2019-nCoV case and be reported at the time, according to Chen, who heads the epidemic response command center.

However, the wife developed symptoms on Jan. 27, sought medical treatment the next day and tested positive Thursday, Chen said.

According to Centers for Disease Control (CDC) Deputy Director-General Chuang Jen-hsiang, the husband has recovered and is not contagious, but all family members who have not showed any symptoms will undergo further tests.

The wife's case also highlights the possible overlooking of 2019-nCoV cases where the symptoms present as less severe, Chuang said, adding that the command center will step up its focus on such cases.

Meanwhile, to better manage distribution of surgical face masks, all 4 million masks supplied per day will be disbursed by the government from Friday, according to the center.

Around 1.4 million masks will be given to civil servants and medical personnel, with the remaining number available for purchase at convenience stores, pharmacies and related suppliers, it said.

Every customer can buy up to three masks per purchase, through Feb. 15, it said, noting that healthy people do not need to wear a mask.

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