[Update] Thailand has the highest number of coronavirus cases outside of China

Thailand has the highest number of confirmed coronavirus cases outside of mainland China, according to the World Health Organization (WHO) with four confirmed cases.

On Thursday, the Ministry of Health from China, Thailand, Japan and the Republic of Korea updated the WHO’s emergency committee on their respective local situations.

According to a WHO statement, the number of cases inside China has risen to 557 confirmed cases. The outbreak currently has a mortality rate of about 4 per cent with fatalities rates higher among the elderly and young. About 25 per cent of cases are listed as severe.

The World Health Organization confirmed that human-to-human transmissions were happening and that there were reported fourth-generation cases in Wuhan, China where the outbreak started.

Beijing has taken drastic steps to contain the virus including the quarantine of Wuhan City and the restriction of travel from the Hubei Province.

Thailand has taken its own steps to monitor and limit the spread of disease after its fourth confirmed case was reported in Nakhon Pathom province.

With Lunar New Year celebrations this weekend, mass tourism from China will increase the risk of a viral pandemic but Thailand’s Ministry of Public Health said they would be extra cautious.

Scanners and checkpoints will be deployed at all international airports and tourists from at-risks zones will be closely monitored, Ministry of Public Health Permanent Secretary Sukhum Kanchanapimai told reporters on Thursday.

National flag carrier Thai Airways International said that the airline would also implement measures to help the situation and boost consumer confidence, according to Pratana Patanasiri, Vice President of Aviation Safety, Security & Standards.

This includes new cleaning measures, passenger screening and making employees aware of risks and ways to combat them, Pratana said.

Despite both statements, Thai Enquirer reporters traveling from Singapore to Bangkok today did not notice additional screening methods both on the Thai Airways flight and at Suvarnabhumi Airport.

It is unclear whether the preventative measures applied only to flights from China. Calls to both the Ministry of Public Health and Thai Airways were not returned.

(This story was updated to show Wuhan is a city and Hubei is the province.)

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