South Korean tourist tests positive for novel coronavirus after visiting Thailand

South Korean tourist tests positive for novel coronavirus after visiting Thailand

Thermal scanner at Incheon Airport
A quarantine officer (bottom) monitors a thermal scanner as passengers from an international flight arrive at Incheon international airport, west of Seoul, on Jan 21, 2020. (Photo: STR/AFP/ Dong-A Ilbo)

SEOUL: A South Korean woman has tested positive for coronavirus after visiting Thailand, the first foreign tourist reported to have been infected after a visit to the Southeast Asian nation.

The 42-year-old, identified only as Patient 16, flew back to South Korea on Jan 19 after travelling in Thailand, the Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (KCDC) said in a statement on Tuesday (Feb 4).

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Treated since developing chills and other symptoms from Jan 25, she did not improve until Sunday, the KCDC added, and was confirmed positive on Tuesday, following checks at Chonnam National University Hospital.

The statement did not explicitly rule out a visit to China, however.

KCDC said it was too early to conclude whether the patient contracted the virus while in Thailand.

"We need detailed research through an epidemiological survey," Jeong Eun-kyeong, director of KCDC, told reporters.

South Korea has 16 confirmed cases of the virus. The country reported its first case of local human-to-human transmission on Thursday, a 56-year-old Korean man who had contact with a previously confirmed case.

He was quarantined at a hospital in Seoul.

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Thailand has confirmed 25 cases of the novel coronavirus.

A case of human-to-human tranmission was also reported in the country - a taxi driver who did not have a record of travelling to China and is suspected to have been infected by a sick traveller.

Tanarak Pipat, deputy director-general of the Department of Disease Control, said last week that the overall risk of infection in Thailand is "still low". Most cases reported in the country are Chinese tourists.

In China, more than 20,000 have been infected by the novel coronavirus, with the death toll at 426.

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Source: Agencies/ga/nr

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