South Korean woman tests positive for coronavirus after Thailand visit

by Editorial Team

A South Korean woman has been diagnosed with coronavirus after returning from Thailand — marking the first foreign tourist to become infected with the deadly illness following a trip to the Southeast Asian nation, officials said.

The 42-year-old patient, who wasn’t identified, traveled home on Jan. 19 from Thailand, where there have been 19 confirmed cases of the virus, according to a statement from the Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

She sought treatment Jan. 25 for chills and other symptoms, but only tested positive Tuesday for the virus, officials said.

It’s unclear where she became infected, but the possibility hasn’t been ruled out that she contracted the virus in Thailand.

“Tourists, naturally, are in places full of foreign tourists and thus are likely to be in areas of disease transmission,” Tanarak Plipat, deputy director-general of the Thai Department of Disease Control, told the Bangkok Post.

The statement did not explicitly rule out that the patient visited China, but Thailand on Friday reported its first case of the virus spreading inside the country when a taxi driver who had not traveled to China tested positive.

The Pacific nation has the second-highest number of cases following China, where the virus emerged in December in Hubei province, according to the World Health Organization.

The viral outbreak has climbed to more than 20,600 cases worldwide and at least 426 deaths.


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