BANGKOK: Two more cases of Wuhan virus infection were confirmed in Thailand this week, Public Health Minister Anutin Charnvirakul announced on Wednesday (Jan 22).
One of the patients is a 73-year-old Thai woman who travelled back from Wuhan and is currently recovering at a hospital in Nakhon Pathom province.
The other patient is a male Chinese tourist. The 68-year-old was detected with a high body temperature at Suvarnabhumi Airport in Bangkok on Jan 19. He is being treated at Bamrasnaradura Infectious Disease Institute in Nonthaburi province.
Anutin said both patients are receiving treatment at medical facilities outside the capital Bangkok.
He added: “I’d like to ask the people to be confident in Thailand's medical system and public health, which is modern and ready to handle the situation, although the virus is a new strain.
"As of now, there is no report of human-to-human transmission in Thailand. We are monitoring and separating arriving passengers. We have a system to monitor close contacts, including drivers, doctors, nurses and people who have handled the gurneys."
The two new patients will be released from the medical facilities and allowed to return home once lab test results show they are safe to leave, he added.
Wuhan virus is also known as novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV). It is a new strain of coronavirus first identified in Wuhan city of Hubei province, China. Contagious between humans, it can cause potentially deadly pneumonia and has spread to several countries.
The number of cases in China has surpassed 400, with nine deaths due to the virus.
In Thailand, preventive measures have been introduced at international airports and hospitals. Between Jan 3 and 21, 19,480 passengers and crew from 123 flights from Wuhan City went through thermal scans.
Including the two new cases, four people in Thailand have so far been detected with the virus.
The first two cases involving two Chinese tourists have been treated and they have returned home.
Thermal scanning currently operates at five international airports across Thailand, including Suvarnabhumi Airport and Don Mueang Airport in Bangkok, and three others in popular tourist destinations of Chiang Mai, Phuket and Krabi.
In Chiang Mai, thermal scanning is applied to Air China's passengers flying directly from Wuhan to Chiang Mai. The screening also takes place at every hospital in the province.
According to its Public Health Office, five people have been separated for medical examination so far. Two of them are free from Wuhan virus while the remaining three - all Chinese nationals - are waiting for lab test results.
The public health minister also said he has ordered all the medical facilities nationwide to raise their monitoring, preventive and control measures during the Chinese New Year holidays. The screening system at the airports has also been improved for quicker operation and efficiency, he added.
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