South Korea confirms first case of new coronavirus in Chinese visitor

South Korea confirms first case of new coronavirus in Chinese visitor

SEOUL: South Korea reported on Monday (Jan 20) its first confirmed case of the new coronavirus that has broken out in China, South Korea's Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (KCDC) said.

READ: China confirms 139 new cases of pneumonia, virus spreads to Beijing and Shenzhen

The patient is a 35-year-old Chinese woman who flew from Wuhan, China to Incheon international airport on Sunday. She was isolated upon entry into the country due to symptoms such as high fever, KCDC said in a statement.

An outbreak of a new coronavirus in China has spread to more cities, Chinese authorities said on Monday, as the number of patients tripled and a third person died, stoking concerns about the containment of the virus.

Officials confirmed the virus had been detected in Beijing and Guangdong province, marking the first instances of the illness spreading within the country beyond Wuhan, the city where the cases were first discovered.

China, the World Health Organization and authorities across the globe are stepping up efforts to contain the virus, which initially emerged in Wuhan in late December as a wave of pneumonia patients.

Three cases had previously been confirmed abroad - two in Thailand and one in Japan - involving people who recently visited Wuhan.

READ: MOH monitoring China pneumonia outbreak, will implement temperature screening at Changi Airport

READ: Wuhan pneumonia virus casts shadow over Chinese New Year festival

The virus belongs in the same family of coronaviruses as Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS), which killed nearly 800 people globally during a 2002-2003 outbreak that also started in China.

Though some experts say the new virus may not be as deadly as SARS, there is still little known about it including its origin and how easily it can be transmitted between humans.

Authorities in Hong Kong have stepped up detection measures, including rigorous temperature checkpoints for inbound travellers from the Chinese mainland.

Airport authorities in Singapore, the United States as well as most Asian nations are also screening passengers from Wuhan.

Source: Reuters/nc