WHO alarmed over suspected coronavirus case in Thailand


  • ASEAN+
  • Tuesday, 14 Jan 2020

A monitor connected to a body temperature scanner shows flight passengers arriving at Bangkok's Suvarnabhumi International Airport, Thailand. A traveller from the central Chinese city of Wuhan was hospitalized in Thailand last Wednesday, the WHO said in a statement in Geneva, adding that the patient is recovering. - Reuters

BANGKOK: The World Health Organisation (WHO) will consult with its health emergency experts after reports that Thailand has experienced its first case of the new coronavirus outbreak in China, the UN health agency said on Tuesday (Jan 14).

A traveller from the central Chinese city of Wuhan was hospitalized in Thailand last Wednesday, the WHO said in a statement in Geneva, adding that the patient is recovering.

So far, one person has died and dozens have fallen ill amid the outbreak of the new virus in Wuhan, raising concerns as hundreds of millions of people prepare to travel during the Chinese New Year holiday later this month.

"It is essential that investigations continue in China to identify the source of this outbreak and any animal reservoirs or intermediate hosts," the UN agency said.

Most of those with the illness are workers or visitors at a market in Wuhan which sells fish and wild animals.

Coronaviruses can infect animals and people, causing diseases ranging from the common cold to severe pneumonia-like illnesses such as Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) and Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS).

WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus will consult emergency committee members in light of the Thai case, and he could convene a formal meeting shortly, the UN agency said.

WHO Emergency Committees can issue policy recommendations in case of health crises, and they can declare a "public health emergency of international concern" to shore up global vigilance and action. - dpa/Asian News Network
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