Thailand finds second case of new Chinese coronavirus but authorities confident spread can be contained

Posted by

Thailand has found a second case of a new Chinese coronavirus, authorities said on Friday as they ramped up checks on Chinese visitors, nearly a million of whom are expected for Lunar New Year holidays next week.

Key points:

• Coronaviruses are a family of viruses that can cause infections, from the common cold to SARS

• Thailand’s Health Minister said, “We’re fully alert”.

• Japan has also reported one case of the infection

The latest patient is from China’s central city of Wuhan, which has reported 41 cases of pneumonia potentially linked to the new type of virus, with two deaths, as hospitals worldwide scramble to guard against any spread.

The 74-year-old woman, quarantined since arriving in Thailand on Monday, was found to be infected, health officials said.

“We’re very confident that we can control the spread of this kind of disease,” Health Minister Anutin Charnvirakul told reporters, adding that the situation was under control and there was no outbreak in Thailand. “We’re fully alert.”

The two Chinese patients were now safe but needed to go through a few more procedures before Thai authorities could let them return home, he added.

Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses that can cause infections ranging from the common cold to severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS).

Thailand, which is on high alert ahead of the Lunar New Year holidays, said on Monday it had found a 61-year-old Chinese woman carrying a strain of the coronavirus, the first time it was detected outside China.

Japan reported its first case of the infection on Thursday after a Japanese man returned from visiting Wuhan, known for its picturesque lakes.

PHOTO The origin of the virus has been traced to the Chinese city of Wuhan.

REUTERS: CHINA DAILY CDIC

The World Health Organization (WHO) has said the virus could spread and warned hospitals about it.

Thai health officials have stepped up monitoring at four airports receiving daily flights from Wuhan — Suvarnabhumi, Don Muang, Chiang Mai and Phuket — and others that receive charter flights from the Chinese city.

Since January 3, Thailand has screened 13,624 passengers.

Health officials also asked Thai AirAsia and China Southern Airlines, which run direct daily flights from Wuhan, to halt boarding by those suffering from high fever and respiratory symptoms and reschedule their flights.