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2nd case of Wuhan coronavirus puts S. Korea on alert during holidays Wel

24 January 2020 14:55

SEOUL. KAZINFORM South Korea on Friday reported its second confirmed case of the China coronavirus amid mounting fears of the pneumonia-like illness that is spreading throughout China and other parts of the world during the Lunar New Year holiday, YONHAP reported.

According to the Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (KCDC), a South Korean who arrived at Gimpo International Airport in western Seoul, late Wednesday, tested positive for the virus.

The 55-year-old man, who has been working in Wuhan, visited a Chinese clinic last week after suffering from a sore throat and other symptoms, the agency said.

The KCDC said that more details on his condition will be revealed later in the day.

The country reported its first confirmed case of the new coronavirus Monday when a Chinese resident who arrived at Incheon International Airport, the country's main gateway, on Sunday tested positive for the virus.

Meanwhile, all 25 suspected cases reported here tested negative for the new coronavirus, according to the center.

The second confirmed case came as South Korea is struggling to prevent the spread of coronavirus during the four-day Lunar New Year holiday, with the country's citizens advised not to visit the central Chinese city at the epicenter of the disease.

Lunar New Year is celebrated by both Korean and Chinese people. The traditional holiday, which began Friday, will see increased movement within the country and abroad, potentially exposing more people to the virus, the center said.

Common symptoms of the new coronavirus, thought to have originated in Wuhan, include fever, sore throat and breathing difficulties, with more acute cases involving chills and muscle pain.

South Korea is maintaining a high level of vigilance to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.

Airports across the nation have been ratcheting up their scrutiny of passengers from China and other countries for signs of illness, with local authorities accelerating quarantine efforts to contain the virus.

Japan, Taiwan, Thailand and the United States have all confirmed cases of the disease, with media reports indicating one new case in Singapore and two in Vietnam.

Seoul's foreign ministry applied the alert level of «restraint» to Wuhan, the third highest in the four-tier travel warning system, while issuing the lowest alert level of «caution» for other areas in China's Hubei Province.

Korean Air Lines Co., South Korea's national flag carrier, said Thursday it will suspend its flights to Wuhan by the end of this month.

South Korea said it will make the utmost efforts to contain the Wuhan coronavirus by enhancing preventive quarantine and screening measures.

«It will take lots of time and efforts to terminate the virus, and what's important now is to take quick and thorough preventive measures, thus minimizing potential fallout,» Prime Minister Chung Sye-kyun said during an emergency meeting hastily arranged to discuss stepped-up responses against the deadly disease.

The new coronavirus was originally believed to be passed to humans from animals but is now known to be transmissible from person to person, although victims may be contracting the virus by coming in contact with saliva and other bodily fluids rather than through airborne factors.

China announced the virus has killed 25 people so far, with 830 others confirmed to be infected, amid concerns the pneumonia-like illness is spreading quickly and widely.

In a press briefing held in Geneva on Thursday (local time), the World Health Organization opted not to declare the new coronavirus a global health emergency, which means the U.N. agency still considers it to be a local emergency.

If the agency issues a global alarm on the new virus, it could call for travel and trade restrictions to prevent the spread of the infection through coordination with governments.

Keywords: World News,