BANGKOK (AP) — A Chinese visitor to Thailand has been confirmed to be infected with a new strain of coronavirus that has been linked to a pneumonia outbreak in central China, health officials said on Monday.
The United Nations (UN) World Health Organization (WHO) said Thai officials have reported that a traveller from the Chinese city of Wuhan has been hospitalised in Thailand with the virus.
The outbreak of the virus has been traced to Wuhan, where it affected several dozen people who had been to a major meat and seafood market.
Thai Public Health Minister Anutin Charnvirakul said it appears to be the first confirmed case of the virus found outside China, the Bangkok Post newspaper and other Thai media reported.
He identified the infected tourist as a 61-year-old woman whose symptoms were detected on arrival at Bangkok’s Suvarnabhumi Airport last Wednesday. Her coronavirus was confirmed last Sunday by a laboratory test, Anutin said.
She has been treated at an isolation ward at a state health facility outside of Bangkok, and no longer has any fever or respiratory symptoms, he said.
Eight other people with possible symptoms have also been held at the facility, he said, but none has been confirmed to have the virus.
A statement issued on Monday by the Geneva-based WHO said it is working with officials in Thailand and China following the report of the confirmed case outside China. The agency said its director-general is consulting with the agency’s emergency committee, which generally decides whether viral outbreaks merit an expanded response from health authorities.
“The possibility of cases being identified in other countries was not unexpected, and reinforces why WHO calls for ongoing active monitoring and preparedness in other countries,” the agency said. “WHO reiterates that it is essential that investigations continue in China to identify the source of this outbreak and any animal reservoirs or intermediate hosts.”