Coronavirus confirmed in Chinese traveller who arrived in Thailand: WHO

WION Web Team Geneva, Switzerland Jan 13, 2020, 07.02 PM(IST)

Man dies of respiratory illness in Wuhan, China Photograph:( AFP )

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WHO had earlier informed that a new strain of virus from the SARS family may have struck China's Wuhan which has led to at least 59 people being infected.

The World Health Organization said it is working with officials in Thailand and China after reports of confirmation of the coronavirus in a traveller from Wuhan in China, who travelled to Thailand.

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"The person was a traveller from Wuhan, China, and was identified by Thai officials on January 8, and hospitalised that day," the WHO said in a statement, adding, "The person is recovering from the illness according to Thai officials."

Also Read: China reports first death from new type of coronavirus

"The possibility of cases being identified in other countries was not unexpected," it added. 

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WHO had earlier informed that a new strain of virus from the SARS family may have struck China's Wuhan which has led to at least 59 people being infected. The international health organization said although the virus does not spread readily, however, it can cause severe illness.

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According to WHO, Coronaviruses (CoV) belongs to a large family of viruses that cause illness ranging from the common cold to severe diseases such as Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS-CoV) and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS-CoV).

Common signs of infection include respiratory symptoms, fever, cough, shortness of breath and breathing difficulties, it informed. In order to prevent it, the agency advised regular hand washing, covering the mouth and nose while coughing and sneezing and to ensure meat and eggs are properly cooked. It also advised people to stay away from anyone who shows symptoms of respiratory illness.

"The genetic sequencing shared by China enables more countries to rapidly diagnose patients," the international health body said. 

WHO said it "reiterates that it is essential that investigations continue in China to identify the source of this outbreak".  WHO Director-General Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said he will consult with emergency committee members and could call for a meeting of the committee on short notice.

The infection which was first detected on December 31 last year spread rapidly in Wuhan leading to widespread SARS outbreak fears in which several hundred people had died in China in 2002-03.