Wuhan virus: Taiwan reports first case

A photo taken on Jan 13, 2020, shows Taiwan's Centres for Disease Control personnel using thermal scanners to screen passengers arriving on a flight from China's Wuhan province at the Taoyuan International Airport. PHOTO: AFP

TAIPEI (AFP) - Taiwan on Tuesday (Jan 21) reported its first confirmed case of the new Sars-like coronavirus as the government warned the public against travelling to the Chinese city where it emerged.

The patient is a Taiwanese woman in her 50s living in Wuhan, who returned to the island on Monday with symptoms that include fever, coughing and a sore throat.

Asian countries have ramped up measures to block the spread of the new virus as the death toll in China rose to six and the number of cases jumped to almost 300 since it first emerged in the central Chinese city of Wuhan.

The Taiwan patient reported her symptoms to quarantine officials on arrival at Taoyuan airport and was immediately taken to a hospital for treatment, said the island's Centres for Disease Control (CDC).

The woman told officials that she had not visited any local markets or had contact with birds or wild animals while in Wuhan.

The authorities are monitoring some 46 passengers and crew from the same flight, the agency said.

The CDC raised its alert on Wuhan to the highest level, urging the public against travelling to the city unless necessary.

"We ask the public not to panic as the individual was taken to hospital directly from the airport and did not step into the community," it said in a statement, adding that it reported the case to the World Health Organisation and the China authorities.

The coronavirus has spread to Thailand, Japan, South Korea and Taiwan.

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