Extra precautions as human transmission of new virus confirmed

Extra precautions as human transmission of new virus confirmed

Health officials prepare to screen visitors at Suvarnabhumi airport in Samut Prakan province. They are advised to better protect themselves as the novel coronavirus can be transmitted between humans. (Photo by Pornprom Satrabhaya)
Health officials prepare to screen visitors at Suvarnabhumi airport in Samut Prakan province. They are advised to better protect themselves as the novel coronavirus can be transmitted between humans. (Photo by Pornprom Satrabhaya)

Health officials are taking precautions to protect themselves against the new coronavirus after China confirmed it can be transmitted between humans.

Dr Tanarak Plipat, deputy director-general of the Disease Control Department, said on Tuesday that medical personnel would be advised on how to guard against infection by the novel coronavirus, which has been designated 2019-nCoV by the World Health Organization.

Chinese authorities on Tuesday confirmed it could be transmitted between humans.

Health officials would also have to quickly identify and closely monitor people who came into close contact with patients, he said.

Health experts would discuss what additional measures were needed to cope with the disease, he said.

Dr Tanarak confirmed a report that a Thai man fell ill after returning from the Chinese city of Wuhan, where the mysterious virus infection was first reported. The man was being treated in Nakhon Pathom province, but officials had yet to confirm if he was infected with the virus, Dr Tanarak said.

Meanwhile, health officials were continuing to screen arrivals from Wuhan, Beijing and Shenzhen, areas where infection by the novel coronavirus was reported, he said.

Dr Tanarak said about 16,000 Chinese arrive in Thailand on a daily basis. About 30 people had been placed in quarantine this month on suspicion of being infected by the novel coronavirus.

To date, two Chinese women who arrived in separate tour groups on flights from Wuhan have been confirmed infected with the virus -  a 61-year-old and a 74-year-old.

The director of communicable diseases, Dr Sopon Iamsirithawon, said a British man had been treated for influenza and lung infection in Phuket, but it was a bacterial infection -- not a case of the novel virus as reported by a UK tabloid newspaper. The man had not visited Wuhan, he said.


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