Japan confirms case of Wuhan coronavirus


A case of the mystery respiratory infection related to the potentially deadly SARS virus, which first emerged in China, has been confirmed in Japan, authorities said earlier today (Jan 16).

According to officials, a man in his 30s tested positive after he had travelled to Wuhan in eastern China.

Scans found signs of pneumonia and tests found the same coronavirus as people affected by the Wuhan outbreak, Japan health officials said.

Wong Ka-hing, the Controller of the Centre for Health Protection of the Department of Health holds a Wuhan Municipal Health Commission press statement of the new type of coronavirus, during a press conference at the Health Department in Hong Kong, Saturday, Jan. 11, 2020.

With next week's Lunar New year taking place in Thailand, authorities have been put on high alert due to the influx of Chinese tourists expected to travel.

World Health Organization doctor Maria Van Kerkhove on Tuesday (Jan 14) said she "wouldn't be surprised if there was some limited human-to-human transmission, especially among families who have close contact with one another".

Forty-one people in the city of Wuhan have received a preliminary diagnosis of a novel coronavirus, a family of viruses that can cause both the common cold and more serious diseases.

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However, the patient in Japan had not visited any seafood markets in Wuhan, according to the country's health ministry. "At this stage, there are no infection among health care workers, and no clear evidence of human to human transmission", the WHO statement said.

On Monday, a Chinese woman was also ordered to quarantine in Thailand after contacting the virus, authorities said.

A woman leaves the Wuhan Medical Treatment Centre, where a man who died from a respiratory illness was confined, in the city of Wuhan, Hubei province, China, on January 12, 2020. While the virus can be transmitted between people living in close quarters, no further cases have been confirmed in Japan and its spread is considered unlikely, the ministry said.

The case was not the first one that did not appear directly tied to the seafood market that health officials identified early on as the possible source of the viral spread.

Numerous 41 reported cases in Wuhan were traced to the Wuhan Huanan Seafood Wholesale Market.

"Wuhan is a major hub and with travel being a huge part of the fast-approaching Chinese New Year, the concern level must remain high", he said in a comment emailed to Reuters.