Japan has confirmed a case of a mystery virus that first emerged in China and is from the same family as the deadly SARS pathogen, authorities said yesterday.
It appears to be only the second time the novel coronavirus has been detected outside China, after the WHO confirmed a case in Thailand.
The Japanese Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare said that a man who had visited the central Chinese city of Wuhan, the apparent epicenter of the outbreak, was hospitalized on Friday last week, four days after his return to Japan after he reported a persistent fever.
Tests on the patient, who was released from the hospital on Wednesday, confirmed that he was infected with the new virus.
“This is the first domestic discovery of a pneumonia case related to the new coronavirus,” the ministry said in a statement. “We will continue active epidemiological research while also coordinating efforts with the World Health Organization and related agencies to conduct a risk assessment.”
The outbreak has caused alarm because the new virus is from the same family as the pathogen that causes SARS, which killed 774 people worldwide, including in Taiwan.
Authorities in Wuhan said that a seafood market was the center of the outbreak.
It was closed on Jan. 1.
Japanese authorities said that the man had not visited the market and that it was possible he had been in contact with a person infected with the virus while in Wuhan.
The risk of the disease spreading from the patient was considered low and there have been careful checks on those who had been in close contact with him, ministry official Eiji Hinoshita told reporters.
“At this point, we feel it is unlikely this will lead to a dramatic outbreak [in Japan],” he said, adding that the patient no longer had a fever and was recuperating at home.
Officials declined to give further information on the man, including his nationality, citing privacy concerns.
Japan would need to raise its guard ahead of the Lunar New Year, a popular travel period in China, Hinoshita said.
“It is expected that Japan will see many visitors from China,” he said.
The woman diagnosed in Thailand, who is in a stable condition, also said that she had not visited the Wuhan seafood market.
In Vietnam, two Chinese visitors from Wuhan who arrived at Da Nang International Airport on Tuesday have been put in isolation and are under observation for the disease.
The Vietnamese Ministry of Health, which sent a team to the coastal city, said that it on Wednesday held an emergency meeting on prevention efforts for the new coronavirus.
Additional reporting by Bloomberg
SAFETY RISK: The government is working to categorize countries based on their COVID-19 cases and prevention efforts, which would determine quarantine periods The government plans to rank countries based on their COVID-19 risks to determine how to treat tourists and other travelers from those nations once Taiwan reopens its borders, but it is still working out the categories, a top health official told lawmakers yesterday. “We would divide countries around the world into several categories. One category would comprise those countries with very few confirmed COVID-19 cases, such as New Zealand and Palau. Travelers from the countries in this category would only need to practice self-health management,” Centers for Disease Control Deputy Director-General Chuang Jen-hsiang (莊人祥) told a Legislative Yuan seminar hosted by
China would attack Taiwan if there is no other way of stopping it from becoming independent, Chinese General Li Zuocheng (李作成) said yesterday. Speaking at Beijing’s Great Hall of the People on the 15th anniversary of China’s “Anti-Secession” Law, Li, who is chief of the Joint Staff Department of the Chinese People’s Liberation Army Central Military Commission, left the door open to using force. The 2005 law is China’s legislative basis for military action against Taiwan. “If the possibility for peaceful reunification is lost, the people’s armed forces will, with the whole nation, including the people of Taiwan, take all necessary steps to
SECURITY CONCERNS: The Telecom Technology Center ran black-box tests for the Executive Yuan on devices and software from Chinese, US and South Korean firms Network devices from several Chinese manufacturers are insecure and allow personal information to be leaked, testing commissioned by the Executive Yuan has shown. A variety of devices and software, including apps, from Chinese, US and South Korean manufacturers that are used by government agencies at the central and local level were subjected to black-box testing — in which the functionality of an application is examined without knowing about its internal structure, an information-security official said yesterday on condition of anonymity. The Telecom Technology Center conducted the tests, which simulated cyberattacks, to determine their resilience to the attacks, the official said. The center
RELATIONSHIP ‘TERMINATED’: US Speaker Nancy Pelosi said that the president’s action was ‘an act of extraordinary senselessness,’ a tone Chinese media echoed US President Donald Trump on Friday announced that Washington would withdraw funding from the WHO, end Hong Kong’s special trade status and suspend visas of Chinese graduate students suspected of conducting research on behalf of their government. Trump said in a White House announcement that Chinese officials “ignored” their reporting obligations to the WHO and pressured the organization to mislead the public about the outbreak. “We have detailed the reforms that it must make and engaged with them directly, but they have refused to act,” he said. “Because they have failed to make the requested and greatly needed reforms, we will be