A statement issued Monday by the Geneva-based World Health Organization said it is working with officials in Thailand and China following the report of the confirmed case outside China. Around 44 suspected cases were reported in the month of December.
WHO Director General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus has been consulting with global experts on the public health risks of the outbreak to decide if an emergency meeting is needed, he said. It was closed on Jan 1. Some of the virus types cause less serious disease, while some - such as the one that causes Middle East respiratory syndrome, Mers - are far more severe.
The danger of human-to-human transmission stays low, Chuang said, as countless individuals, such as medical specialists, have been in close contact with infected people and have yet to be infected themselves. Earlier this week officials in Thailand confirmed that a 61-year-old Chinese tourist was hospitalized with the virus. It has backtracked on its statement on January 12, when it said there was "no evidence" of such.
The commission said the man, who died Thursday, also suffered from abdominal tumours and chronic liver disease and had been a frequent customer at a food market on Wuhan's outskirts linked to the majority of cases. A new case, however, has appeared in a woman who never visited the market, indicating she may have been infected directly from someone who was already ill. With this spread likely to advance, the World Health Organization may soon consult with the emergency committee members to could call meeting.
A Chinese woman has been quarantined in Thailand with a mystery strain of the coronavirus, the first time it has been detected outside China. She was able to return home on Wednesday in a stable condition.
More Chinese travelers are expected to arrive at popular destinations in Asia, including in South Korea, during the Lunar New Year holidays.
A woman leaves the Wuhan Medical Treatment Centre, where a man who died from a respiratory illness was confined, in the city of Wuhan, Hubei province, China, on January 12, 2020.
Local authorities have also been working to dispel rumors that the coronavirus is a reemergence of SARS, another coronavirus that in 2003 infected an estimated 8,000 people and killed at least 770 after it spread to cities throughout China and other countries.