A second person has died after contracting the coronavirus found in the central Chinese city of Wuhan, while Thailand has confirmed a second case of the virus.
A 69-year-old man died on Wednesday, Wuhan Health Commission said late on Thursday. He had shown symptoms on December 21 before being admitted to Wuhan Medical Treatment Centre " where all suspected cases of the viral pneumonia have been treated " on January 4 after his condition worsened, the commission's statement said.
The man had a heart muscle infection and tuberculosis when he was admitted to hospital, it said.
It follows the death last week of a 61-year-old man, who had tested positive for the coronavirus and also had abdominal tumours and chronic liver disease.
The Wuhan health authority said that the city had reported no new cases as of Wednesday and that 12 of the 41 patients confirmed to have been infected had recovered and been discharged from hospital. Five were being treated as severe cases.
Of the 763 people identified as having had close contact with the 41 patients, 644 were no longer under medical observation, it said.
China's second confirmed death from the coronavirus came as Thailand's health ministry said it had detected a second case of the strain.
The Thai ministry said on Friday morning that a 74-year-old Chinese woman had been confirmed as being infected " the second case found in Thailand in less than a week.
The second patient landed in Thailand on Monday, five days after a 61-year-old woman arriving in Bangkok from Wuhan was confirmed as the first case of the coronavirus outside China.
Both women were being treated at Bamrasnaradura Infectious Diseases Institute, but Dr Sukhum Kanchanapimai, permanent secretary of the Thai health ministry, said at a press conference on Friday that there was no relation between the two cases.
Sukhum said that more than 13,000 travellers from Wuhan had been screened at four Thai airports in the previous fortnight.
He said the 61-year-old Chinese woman no longer had a fever but a second assessment was needed before she could be discharged.
Other Asian countries have reported confirmed or suspected cases of the coronavirus this week.
On Thursday, Japanese health authorities said a Chinese man in his 30s living in Kanagawa prefecture, south of Tokyo, had tested positive for the new strain after visiting Wuhan and having close contact with a patient. The man was discharged on Wednesday.
The same day, Singapore's health ministry reported its third suspected case, saying it had quarantined a 69-year-old man who had been diagnosed with pneumonia after visiting Wuhan. Two Chinese nationals from Wuhan had previously been placed in quarantine in the city but later tested negative for the coronavirus.
As a precautionary measure, two Chinese tourists from Wuhan were quarantined by Vietnam's Ministry of Health after showing fever symptoms when they landed at Da Nang airport on Tuesday.
The strain found in Wuhan, named 2019-nCoV by the World Health Organisation (WHO), is the latest of the seven known human coronaviruses. Of the six that were previously known, four caused only minor respiratory symptoms similar to those of a cold. The other two are severe acute respiratory syndrome (Sars), which killed more than 700 people worldwide in 2002-03 after originating in China, and Middle East respiratory syndrome (Mers), which has killed more than 850 around the world since 2012.
The new strain has been found in samples taken from Huanan Seafood Wholesale Market in Wuhan, where many of the patients had been vendors, handlers or frequent visitors. Some of those testing positive for the virus have denied ever going to the market, raising fears of limited human-to-human transmission.
While the Chinese health authorities continued to look for the source of the infection, the WHO said it was unsurprising that there had been cases outside China and further cases could be found in other countries.
"We are still in the early stages of understanding this new virus, where it came from and how it affects people," a spokesperson told the South China Morning Post. "There are still many unknowns, and the situation may continue to evolve."
The organisation has not recommended any restrictions on travel or trade. Meanwhile, authorities in Wuhan have stepped up efforts to contain the spread of the virus by setting up temperature detectors in its international airport and three major railway stations. Those confirmed to have a body temperature of 38 degrees Celsius (100 degrees Fahrenheit) or above would be taken into temporary quarantine, the local transport authority said.
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