Japan confirmed the first case of infection with the new coronavirus that was reported in China, the health ministry announced Thursday.
A man in his 30s from Kanagawa Prefecture, southwest of Tokyo, tested positive, the ministry said.
The man had been in the Chinese city of Wuhan, where there has been an outbreak of pneumonia that is believed to be caused by the new strain of coronavirus, he said.
He reportedly returned from China to Japan with a fever and was hospitalized. He was released on Wednesday after symptoms subsided, according to the health ministry statement.
The World Health Organization (WHO) had previously warned that the new virus could spread and alerted hospitals around the world.
On Monday, a Chinese woman was also ordered to quarantine in Thailand after contacting the virus, authorities said.
Asian authorities have intensified monitoring at airports before Lunar New Year vacations next week, when hundreds of thousands of Chinese tourists are expected to travel in the country and abroad.
On Wednesday, the US Department of State UU. He also issued a health alert about trips to the Wuhan region. He referred to a Level 1 Watch Alert from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. UU., Urging citizens traveling to the region to avoid contact with animals, animal markets or products of animal origin, among other precautions.
On Saturday, Chinese authorities announced that a 61-year-old man died of pneumonia, a symptom of the disease, in Wuhan.
In total, 41 cases of pneumonia have been reported in China, which preliminary laboratory tests cited by Chinese state media show that they could have been caused by a new type of coronavirus.
Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses that can cause infections ranging from the common cold to SARS. Some of the types of viruses cause less serious diseases, while others, such as the one that causes MERS, are much more serious. SARS originated in southern China in 2002 and infected more than 8,000 people in 37 countries before it was controlled. Almost 800 people died.
“The possibility of identifying cases in other countries was not unexpected and reinforces why WHO requires active monitoring and preparation in progress in other countries,” WHO said in a statement.
WHO Director General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus has been consulting with international experts on the public health risks of the outbreak to decide if an emergency meeting is needed, he said.
Al Jazeera and news agencies