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20 Jan 2020 | 08:12 AM UTC

South Korea: One confirmed case of viral pneumonia January 20

Medical authorities announce first confirmed case of viral pneumonia on South Korean territory as of January 20; take precautionary measures



South Korea's Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (KCDC) announced on Monday, January 20, that the first confirmed case of the viral pneumonia that broke out in Wuhan (Hubei, China) in December 2019 has been confirmed on South Korean territory. The patient, a Chinese national who had recently returned from Wuhan, was isolated upon entry to the country at Icheon International Airport (ICN) on Sunday, January 19, due to fever symptoms.

Health officials reported that most of the unexplained viral pneumonia cases in Wuhan have a history of exposure to the South China seafood market but are yet to determine how it has been spreading.


As of January 14, the Wuhan Municipal Health Commission (WMHC) has reported at least 198 confirmed cases and three associated death in Wuhan (Hubei province). Cases have also been reported in Beijing and Shengzen.

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 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
  • People within an affected country 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
  • People back from the affected country developing symptoms of pneumonia are advised to call emergency services before going to the doctor or hospital to avoid spread of the disease