File: A health worker checks a nasal swab sample collected during a Rapid Antigen Test (RAT) for the COVID-19 coronavirus. AFP/Tauseef Mustafa
TAIPEI - Taiwan reported its first local coronavirus transmission Tuesday, ending 253 days of being virus-free in a major blow for an island that has been lauded for its pandemic response.
Health authorities said a woman in her thirties had tested positive for the coronavirus after coming into contact with a "foreign pilot" working for a Taiwanese airline who was a carrier.
"Health units arranged for her to be tested and she was confirmed positive today," the Centre for Disease Control said in a statement.
Taiwan has recorded just 770 coronavirus infections and seven deaths after it shut its borders early and implemented strict quarantine rules.
Since April 12 all positive cases have been from people travelling to the island.
The vast majority of arrivals have to quarantine for two weeks and must test negative, a measure which - until Tuesday - had successfully kept any carriers from bringing infections into the local community.
Pilots currently undergo a less strict three days of self-quarantine after each overseas trip.