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Taiwan reports 493 new COVID-19 cases and 21 deaths

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Taipei, May 29 (CNA) Taiwan on Saturday reported 493 new cases of COVID-19, including 486 domestic infections and seven imported ones, as well as 21 deaths, according to the Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC).

Of the domestic cases, 320 were newly confirmed cases and 166 were from a backlog of test results confirmed over the past few days, the CECC said.

The new domestic cases included 224 in New Taipei and 168 in Taipei. Taichung reported 33 cases, Taoyuan 19, and Keelung 14, while Taitung and Yilan each reported five.

Hualien and Chiayi each confirmed four cases, Miaoli reported three, Hsinchu County and Changhua each reported two cases, and Yunlin, Hsinchu City and Kaohsiung each reported one, the CECC said.

Based on Saturday's case distribution, "we can see that infections are rising outside of (the virus hotspots) Taipei and New Taipei cities, while the range of areas affected is also growing," Health Minister Chen Shih-chung said.

The CECC said only two of the cases were immediately linked to a cluster involving hostess teahouses in Taipei's Wanhua District, while 36 of the new patients had recently visited the Wanhua area.

In another 158 cases, there was a known source of infection, while 49 had "unclear links" to other cases, and 241 were under investigation, the CECC said.

Meanwhile, a backlog of 166 cases reported Saturday brought the number of domestic cases the CECC has retroactively added to its daily totals since last Saturday to more than 2,000.

With the adjustments, Taiwan's daily totals have remained largely "flat" this week, despite the Level 3 COVID-19 alert that was imposed nationwide on May 19, Chen said.

Apart from the domestic infections, the CECC also reported seven imported COVID-19 cases, from the Philippines, Indonesia and India.

The 21 fatalities reported Saturday were 13 men and eight women, ranging in age from their 30s to 90s, who passed away between May 23 and May 28, the CECC said.

To date, Taiwan has reported 99 deaths from COVID-19, including 82 in the last week.

The new cases on Saturday bring the total number in the country to 7,806, of which over 6,000 have been locally transmitted infections reported since May 15, when the daily case total topped 100 for the first time.

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