March 20, 2020 / 9:34 AM / 16 days ago

Taiwan coronavirus cases jump again, second death reported

People wait in long lines to buy face masks in order to protect themselves from the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), outside a pharmacy in Taipei, Taiwan, March 17, 2020. REUTERS/Ann Wang

TAIPEI (Reuters) - The number of coronavirus cases in Taiwan jumped again on Friday with 27 new infections, taking the total to 135, with a second death also reported, as the island fights to contain a rise in imported cases.

Taiwan has won global plaudits for its efforts to contain the spread of the virus, but has begun reporting daily rises in cases among people returning from other countries, especially in Europe.

The island saw its largest daily increase in cases on Friday and the majority of them were imported, the government said. Taiwan has issued a warning against all outbound travel.

“We will guard the frontline against imported cases and local transmission,” Health Minister Chen Shih-chung told a news conference. “Please don’t travel abroad unless necessary.”

The second death was a person in their 80s with underlying health conditions including diabetes and renal problems, the government said.

The island this week barred many foreigners from entering as part of coronavirus prevention measures, and all arrivals in Taiwan are required to spend 14 days in home quarantine.

Taiwan has also set up a mobile phone-based “electronic fence” that uses location-tracking to ensure people who are quarantined stay in their homes.

Taiwan is rolling out a T$60 billion stimulus package to help soften the economic impact of the virus and President Tsai Ing-wen has said a further T$40 billion is available.

Taiwan’s central bank on Thursday cut interest rates to a new low and reduced its growth forecast for the export-oriented economy amid growing fears that the coronavirus could trigger a global recession.

Reporting by Yimou Lee and Ben Blanchard; Editing by Kevin Liffey

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