The outbreak takes place just before the lunar holiday, at the end of January, when tens of millions of people take the bus, train and plane.
Several of the patients infected are sellers at a market in Wuhan, China, specializing in seafood and wholesale fish. The municipality has taken various measures, including ordering the closure of the market, where disinfection and tests were carried out.
A second case of Chinese pneumonia, which belongs to the same family as SARS (Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome), has been identified in a 74-year-old Chinese traveler in Thailand, the authorities announced on Friday 17 January.
She was hospitalized after arriving at Bangkok airport on January 13 from the Chinese city of Wuhan, the epicenter of the outbreak, the health ministry said. The patient suffers from pneumonia related to the mysterious coronavirus that has claimed two lives in China and has also been discovered in Japan. The patient’s condition is improving.
Thailand has stepped up controls at its airports as Chinese New Year approaches, expecting more than 1,300 travelers a day from Wuhan. “People shouldn’t panic because there’s no spreading of the disease in Thailand,” assured the officials.
Most important annual travel period
The day before, the Chinese authorities had announced that the virus had a second victim a 69 year old man, who became ill on December 31st. His condition worsened five days later with severe myocarditis (inflammation of the heart muscle), abnormal kidney function and several severely affected organs.
This pneumonia possibly caused by a coronavirus is feeding the fear of a resurgence of a highly contagious SARS-like virus, which in 2002-2003 killed about 650 people in Mainland China and Hong Kong. According to the latest assessment available, at least 40 people have been identified in China, five of whom are in a serious condition.
Investigations by the health authorities revealed that several patients were sellers at a seafood and fish market in Wuhan. The municipality took several measures, including ordering the closure of the market in question, where disinfection and tests were carried out.
The outbreak takes place shortly before the country’s most important annual travel period, the lunar holiday, at the end of January, when tens of millions of people travel by bus, train and plane. In general, the risk of transmission of the virus from person to person is not “ruled out”, but is considered “low”, according to Chinese health officials Wednesday.