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Taiwan airport cluster infections rise to 12

Masked workers disinfect a passenger thoroughfare at the Taoyuan International Airport, Taiwan on Jan 22, 2020. (CHEN CHI-CHUAN / AFP)

TAIPEI – Taiwan reported four new locally-transmitted confirmed COVID-19 cases on Friday, bringing the total confirmed cases related to the Taoyuan International Airport cluster infections to 12, the island's disease monitoring agency said. 

The new COVID-19 cases include a female security guard working at the airport, as well as two members of a social club and the sister of one of the infected social club members, said the agency, adding that the close contacts of the confirmed cases are conducting screening tests. 

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Before the four cases were confirmed, eight local COVID-19 infections had been reported at the airport this week, including seven cleaners and a taxi driver tasked with taking passengers to and from quarantine facilities. 

Till date, Taiwan has reported a total of 17,258 confirmed COVID-19 cases

An infected cleaner who visited the social club's premises every day from Dec 29 to Jan 2 is thought to be the source of the cluster infections. 

Till date, Taiwan has reported a total of 17,258 confirmed COVID-19 cases. 

To cope with the new Omicron variant, the agency announced new details about the third dose of COVID-19 vaccine, or the booster shot, reducing the required interval between the second vaccination jab and a booster shot from five months to about three. 

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The booster shot program, effective from Friday, will be eligible to anyone aged 18 and over who received their second COVID-19 jab a minimum of 12 weeks ago.