Wuhan disease: Japan confirms first case of coronavirus infection

A Chinese man from Kanagawa prefecture, who returned from Wuhan with a fever, has contracted coronavirus infection, Japan's Health Ministry confirmed

Japan has confirmed the first case of coronavirus infection, widely reported in China. A Chinese man in his 30s from Japan's Kanagawa prefecture, south of capital Tokyo, has been diagnosed with the disease. WHO had earlier warned about the spread of the virus and alerted hospitals worldwide.

First coronavirus infection case in Japan

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The Chinese man from Japan's Kanagawa prefecture had gone to the Chinese city of Wuhan, where there has been a pneumonia outbreak, believed to have been caused by the new coronavirus strain. He contracted fever on January 3, three days prior to his return to Japan on January 6, Japan's Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare said in a statement on Thursday.

He was admitted to hospital on January 10 with pneumonia, and was under observation for five days before being discharged on Wednesday, January 15, Japan Times reported. The case in Japan is the second confirmed case outside China. On Monday, January 13, a Chinese woman was ordered quarantine in Thailand after contracting the virus.

On Saturday, Chinese authorities announced that a 61-year-old man died from pneumonia, a symptom of the disease, in Wuhan. In total, 43 pneumonia cases, attributed to a new strain of coronavirus, have been reported in China.

Alert worldwide

World Health Organization (WHO) has warned about the spread of the virus and has alerted hospitals, worldwide. "The possibility of cases being identified in other countries was not unexpected and reinforces why WHO calls for on-going active monitoring and preparedness in other countries," WHO said in a statement.

Ahead of the next week's Lunar New Year holiday, in which hundreds of thousands of Chinese are expected to travel domestically and abroad, authorities in Asia have stepped up monitoring at airports. On Wednesday, the US State Department also issued a health alert about travel to China's Wuhan region.

Meanwhile, Wuhan Tianhe Airport has begun temperature checks for all passengers, with temporary quarantine for those showing a fever.

What is coronavirus?

Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses, that can cause illness, ranging from the common cold to SARS (Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome), which originated in southern China in 2002, infecting more than 8,000 people in over 37 countries claiming 800 lives.

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