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Taiwan records 2 COVID-19 deaths, increasing total to 17

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One of the deaths reported on Saturday involves a man who was in a group of 42 travelers on a bus tour from May 7-8.

Taipei, May 22 (CNA) The death toll from COVID-19 has climbed to 17 in Taiwan, after two more deaths were confirmed Saturday, according to the Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC).

The two cases involved a man in his 70s and another in his 80s, who both died before their infections were confirmed, said Health Minister Chen Shih-chung , who heads the CECC, at a press briefing.

The man in his 70s was instructed to isolate himself on May 18 and given a test the next day after one of his traveling companions tested positive for the virus, Chen said.

To date, a total of 13 people from the group of 42 who went on a bus tour from May 7-8 have been infected, said CECC spokesman Chuang Jen-hsiang.

Seniors have accounted for a large number of recent domestically-transmitted infections, as a result of which the number of COVID-19 patients who suffer serious symptoms has also increased. 

According to CECC advisor Chang Shan-chwen, 37 percent of the 2,072 domestically transmitted infections confirmed from April 15-21 involved people aged over 60.

Among those seniors, 15 percent are in a serious condition, Chang said, adding that individuals with chronic diseases have a higher chance of suffering severe COVID-19 symptoms.

In addition, 46 of all infected patients have been put on ventilators, he added.

The other death confirmed Saturday involved a man in his 80s who was hospitalized on the evening of May 19 after developing a fever, a cough and having difficulty breathing, Chen said.

He died the next day and his test result came back positive Saturday, said Chen, adding that the source of his infection remains unclear.

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