First case of new virus found in Thailand
Published : Tuesday, 14 January, 2020 at 9:36 AM Count : 152
A new virus from the same family as the deadly SARS disease has spread beyond China’s borders for the first time with a case emerging in Thailand, UN and Thai officials said yesterday.
Thai doctors diagnosed a Chinese traveller with mild pneumonia on January 8 later confirmed to have been caused by the so-called novel coronavirus -- which has already given rise to 41 pneumonia-like cases and one death in China.
The outbreak has caused alarm because of the link with SARS (Sudden Acute Respiratory Syndrome), which killed 349 people in mainland China and another 299 in Hong Kong in 2002-2003.
The UN health agency (WHO) confirmed that the outbreak in the city of Wuhan was caused by a previously unknown type of corona virus, a broad family ranging from the common cold to more serious illnesses like SARS.
“Laboratory testing subsequently confirmed that the novel coronavirus was the cause,” WHO spokesman Tarik Jasarevic told AFP in an email, referring to the case in Thailand.
WHO said it might soon host an emergency meeting on the spread of the new virus.
Thai Health Minister Anutin Charnvirakul stressed to reporters in Bangkok yesterday that a 61-year-old Chinese woman who had travelled from Wuhan “was infected with the virus from outside Thailand”.