Chinese tourists wearing protective masks pray at the Erawan Shrine in central Bangkok on Thursday. (Reuters photo)
Thailand has seen its first case of human-to-human transmission of the new coronavirus, a senior Public Health official said on Friday.
The patient is a Thai taxi driver, Tanarak Pipat, deputy director-general of the Department of Disease Control, said on Friday.
"The Thai person who was infected does not have a record of travelling to China and it is likely that he was infected by a sick traveller from China," Dr Tanarak said.
Previous cases in Thailand have all been either Chinese tourists or Thais who had visited China, where the virus originated.
The taxi driver was one of the five new confirmed cases of infection announced on Friday. The others were Chinese nationals.
This raised the number of confirmed infections in Thailand to 19.
Dr Sopon Iamsirithavorn, director of the Bureau of General Communicable Diseases, earlier told reporters on Friday morning that two taxi drivers who had picked up Chinese tourists later fell ill and sought treatment two days ago.
The tourists had arrived in Thailand before the Chinese government suspended outbound trips by its citizens, he said.
Human-to-human transmission of the virus has also been confirmed in other countries - including Germany, Japan, South Korea and the United States, Dr Sopon said.
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infected : having a disease transmitted from someone else - ซึ่งติดเชื้อ
infection : a disease or medical condition that is caused by a bacteria or by a virus or a parasite - การติดเชื้อ
national : a citizen of a particular country - ประชาชน
originate : to come from a particular place, time, situation, etc - มาจาก, ริเริ่มจาก
patient : someone who is receiving medical treatment - คนป่วย, คนไข้
suspend : to stop for a period of time - ยกเลิกชั่วคราว, ระงับชั่วคราว
transmission : the spread of a disease from one person or animal to another - การแพร่เชื้อ
virus (noun): a living thing, too small to be seen without a microscope, that causes infectious disease in people, animals and plants - เชื้อไวรัส