|Medical staff carry a box as they walk at the Jinyintan hospital, where the patients with pneumonia caused by the new strain of coronavirus are being treated, in Wuhan, Hubei province, China, Jan. 10, 2020. Reuters|
South Korean authorities are ramping up screening efforts at airports on Tuesday after the country confirmed the first case of a new type of coronavirus that is set to spread across China and other parts of Asia.
The country's main gateway, Incheon International Airport, and Cheongju International Airport, located in the central part of the country, have stepped up inspections after a traveler tested positive for the new strain of the pneumonia-like illness currently spreading in China.
Cheongju International Airport does not operate direct flights from Wuhan ― where the virus appears to have originated ― but has a high number of inbound travelers.
On Monday, the Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (KCDC) confirmed the virus in a Chinese woman who arrived in the country through Incheon International Airport.
The KCDC said the 35-year-old patient is currently being quarantined at a designated isolation ward and is in a stable condition, with no pneumonia-like symptoms present.
An epidemiological investigation shows that 44 people had contact with the patient, the KCDC said. Nine of them had already left the country and other 35 people do not show any symptoms.
Overnight, Beijing put the death toll at four, with 15 medical staff infected with the disease.
The head of a Chinese government also said that human-to-human transmission was confirmed in an outbreak of the coronavirus, adding to worries it could spread more quickly and widely. Beijing had initially said the coronavirus was not contagious between people. (Yonhap)