BANGKOK (Reuters) – Thailand has found a second case of the new Chinese coronavirus, authorities said on Friday, as the country ramped up checks of Chinese visitors ahead of the Lunar New Year’s holidays.

The Chinese woman, 74, had been quarantined since her arrival on Monday and was found to be infected with the newly identified coronavirus, said Sukhum Karnchanapimai, permanent secretary of the Public Health Ministry.

He added that she was from the Chinese city of Wuhan, where 41 cases of pneumonia have been reported and potentially linked to the new type of coronavirus. One patient has died.

Sukhum also urged Thais to remain calm, saying that there was no outbreak in the country.

Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses that can cause infections ranging from the common cold to severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS).

On Monday, Thailand said it had found a 61-year-old Chinese woman carrying a strain of the coronavirus, the first time it was detected outside of China.

Since then, Japan reported its first case of the infection on Thursday after a Japanese man returned from visiting Wuhan.

The World Health Organization (WHO) has said the Wuhan virus could spread and has warned hospitals worldwide.

Thailand is on high alert ahead of the Lunar New Year holidays next week, when nearly a million Chinese visitors are expected to arrive.

The Public Health Ministry has increased its monitoring at four airports that have daily flights from Wuhan – Suvarnabhumi, Don Mueng, Chiang Mai and Phuket – and any airports that receives charter flights from the city.

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It has screened 13,624 passengers across the airports since Jan. 3.

Reporting by Panarat Thepgumpanat; Writing by Patpicha Tanakasempipat. Editing by Gerry Doyle



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