The death marks the fifth outside of mainland China. Hong Kong, the Philippines, Japan, and France have each reported one death.
In Taiwan, a local man in his 60s died on Feb. 15 due to pneumonia and septicemia. The man began to have a cough on Jan. 27 and was hospitalized on Feb. 3.
The man, who also had hepatitis-B and diabetes, did not travel outside of Taiwan recently, nor had he knowingly come into contact with anyone who had been infected with the virus.
The second case involves a man in his 50s, who is a relative of the man who died.
The pair constituted Taiwan’s first local transmission cases, Taiwan’s health and welfare minister Chen Shih-chung said on Sunday.
He said the man who died was a taxi driver. Most of his passengers were Taiwanese businesspeople who returned to the island after visiting China, Macau, and Hong Kong.
Chen added that 73 people who had close contact with the dead man have been located. Among them, 60 had tested negative for the virus and 12 are awaiting results. The man’s relative mentioned above was the only one who tested positive.
With the two new cases, Taiwan has 20 known cases of COVID-19.
Meanwhile, international experts are concerned about the continuing increase in the number of cases in China, head of the World Health Organization Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus told the Munich Security Conference in Germany on Saturday. So far, the Chinese regime has reported over 69,000 infections and more than 1,600 deaths, but experts and eyewitness accounts suggest the true numbers are likely higher.
“It is impossible to predict which direction this epidemic will take,” Ghebreyesus said.