The World Health Organisation yesterday confirmed the first case of a person outside China carrying the newly identified virus that is believed to have triggered a pneumonia outbreak in Wuhan.
The United Nations health agency said a woman travelling from Wuhan, the capital of central China's Hubei province, was hospitalised in Thailand last Wednesday after being diagnosed with mild pneumonia.
"Laboratory testing subsequently confirmed that the novel coronavirus was the cause," WHO spokesman Tarik Jasarevic told Agence France-Presse.
WHO said it might soon host an emergency meeting on the spread of the new virus.
While WHO has not recommended any specific measures for travellers or restrictions on trade with China, it stressed yesterday it was taking the situation seriously.
The Thai Health Ministry said yesterday the 61-year-old Chinese woman had been treated and was well enough to return home.