Tourist hit by coronavirus
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Tourist hit by coronavirus

A Chinese tourist found to be infected with a new strain of coronavirus when she arrived in Thailand is being treated in hospital and is expected to be discharged in a few days, Public Health Minister Anutin Charnvirakul said yesterday.

Her case is thought to be linked to the outbreak in the central Chinese city of Wuhan and is the first reported outside China. However, the minister insisted the virus has been contained.

"We've found no new cases. Medical staff treating her also didn't catch the disease," Mr Anutin said yesterday.

The 61-year-old woman is recovering in an isolation ward at Bamrasnaradura Infectious Diseases Institute in Nonthaburi province after her infection was confirmed on Sunday.

She no longer has a fever or any respiratory symptoms, and may be able to return home soon if doctors give her the all-clear, said Mr Anutin.

Sixteen other people who were close to the woman on the same flight were examined, and the results were negative.

According to Mr Anutin, 59 people in China have been confirmed infected with the new strain of coronavirus, which has been linked to a sudden outbreak of pneumonia in central China from Dec 30 last year to Jan 11.

So far there has been one death.

All had attended big markets selling animals and seafood in Wuhan city as either workers or buyers.

One market, named South China Seafood Market, was pinpointed as the centre of the outbreak and was shut down on Jan 1. The man who died had been a customer at that market.

There have not been any recorded human-to-human transmissions of the virus.

Health officials have been checking passengers from Wuhan arriving at Suvarnabhumi, Don Mueang, Phuket and Chiang Mai airports since Jan 3. So far, 12 ill passengers have been quarantined with eight already discharged.

Coronaviruses are not necessarily life-threatening but have been the underlying cause of public health crises, including severe acute respiratory syndrome, or Sars, which killed hundreds of people after an outbreak in southern China in 2002 and 2003.

The Wuhan viral outbreak seems to be less virulent, according to the World Health Organisation.

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