[UPDATE] Fifth case of coronavirus confirmed in Thailand

Thai officials confirmed, late Friday, that a fifth case of coronavirus had been found in the country, the highest number of cases outside of mainland China.

Ministry of Public Health Officials said in a statement that the patient was a Chinese tourist from Wuhan City in Hubei Province.

The 33 year-old woman was admitted to Rajavithi Hospital in Bangkok for signs of a fever and is now confirmed to be carrying the disease.

“I want people to be assured that us finding this case means that the system is working and we’re able to effectively screen for patients,” Deputy Health Minister Satit Pitutacha said in the statement.

According to a statement from the World Health Organization (WHO), the number of infected inside China has risen to over 800 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 WHO confirmed that human-to-human transmissions were happening and that there were reported fourth and fifth-generation cases in Wuhan, China where the outbreak started.

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

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.

[Photo Credit: Ministry of Public Health][Article corrected Wuhan to being a city, original said Wuhan was a province.)

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