Thailand on alert to prevent spread of virus

Thailand on alert to prevent spread of virus

A patient suspected to have contracted coronavirus is seen at Nakhon Pathom Hospital in Nakhon Pathom on Thursday. (Reuters photo)
A patient suspected to have contracted coronavirus is seen at Nakhon Pathom Hospital in Nakhon Pathom on Thursday. (Reuters photo)

Thailand has taken high-level measures to monitor and prevent the spread of a new coronavirus after China's public health authority confirmed the virus can spread from human to human, Sukhum Kanchanapimai, the Ministry of Public Health's permanent secretary said.

The ministry said China's decision to lock down Wuhan -- the epicentre of the new coronavirus outbreak -- and Huanggang will benefit Thailand.

According to Reuters, Wuhan's local government shut down all urban transport networks and suspended outgoing flights from the city at 10am local time on Thursday, adding the government has told citizens not to leave the city unless for special circumstances.

The World Health Organisation called a new coronavirus that has killed 18 people in China and infected around 650 globally "an emergency in China" on Thursday, but stopped short of declaring the epidemic of international concern.

However, although China has locked down Wuhan and Huanggang, it is still necessary to monitor travellers who had already come from the city, Dr Sukhum said.

So far, Thailand has confirmed four cases of the coronavirus which has claimed 17 lives.

One of the patients with the virus is a 73-year-old Thai woman who is now being treated at Nakhon Pathom Hospital in Nakhon Pathom.


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