Thailand confirms fourth case of deadly coronavirus infection


Four people in Thailand are infected with a new coronavirus that originated in China and is raising global fears about an epidemic, authorities have said.

The Public Health Ministry said in a statement that two more people had tested positive for the virus this week, in addition to two others who were infected but have been treated.

The two new cases include a Thai woman who had travelled to China’s central city of Wuhan, where the virus was discovered earlier this month.

The other is a Chinese man who entered the country last Sunday.

“Even though new cases have been discovered, Thailand is yet to have reports of human-to-human transmission,” Public Health Minister Anutin Charnvirakul said.

The new coronavirus belongs to the same family of viruses that caused Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS), a disease that killed 800 people globally in a 2002-03 pandemic that also started in China.

Nine people have died and hundreds have been infected with the coronavirus, according to Chinese authorities, who have also asked people to avoid travelling to Wuhan if possible. The World Health Organization is to decide on Wednesday whether to declare a health emergency.

Since January 3, Thai authorities have tested 19,480 people from 123 flights from Wuhan for the virus.

The Thai Health Ministry said it has instructed every hospital to take extra precaution over the Lunar New Year festival which takes place on Saturday.