The Public Health Ministry announced on Wednesday, January 22, that a fourth patient has been infected by the coronavirus that originated from Wuhan (Hubei province) in China, including one Thai national. The 73-year-old woman traveled to Wuhan during the Chinese New Year celebration, and is currently being treated in Nakhon Pathom, 60 km (37 mi) west of Bangkok. Authorities also stated that despite the number of cases, no outbreak was ongoing in Thailand. Health officials also said that most of the unexplained viral pneumonia cases in Wuhan have a history of exposure to the South China seafood market.
Temperature screenings have been implemented since Sunday, January 5, at Suvarnabhumi (BKK), Don Mueang (DMK), Phuket (HKT), and Chiang Mai (CNX) airports for travelers arriving from Wuhan (Hubei province, China) to prevent the potential spread of the viral pneumonia.
As of January 22, cases of the virus have been confirmed in Thailand, Japan, South Korea, Taiwan, and the US, and suspected cases have been reported in Singapore and Australia. The Wuhan coronavirus has killed nine people and infected 440 others across China.
Pneumonia symptoms include dry cough, chest pain, fever, and trouble breathing. Pneumonia can be contagious and can be transmitted from human to human. The influenza virus, or the flu, is a common cause of viral pneumonia.
Individuals who plan to travel to or have recently returned from China, particularly Hubei province, are advised to monitor the situation and anticipate additional security checks at the airport. Individuals are advised to take precautionary measures to reduce their risk of contracting the virus:
• Avoid all contact with animals (dead or alive); avoid eating animal products that are undercooked; avoid all markets where animals are sold
• Avoid all close contact with people displaying symptoms of the disease (e.g. difficulties breathing)
• Frequently wash hands, wear a face mask
• Individuals within China developing symptoms of pneumonia are advised to seek medical attention, avoid contact with other people, and wash hands regularly
• Adhere to all instructions issued by the local authorities and their home governments
• Travelers returning from China developing symptoms of pneumonia are advised to call emergency services before going to the doctor or hospital to avoid spread of the disease.