Coronavirus: Thailand records one new case, bringing total to 35

In a photo taken on Feb 14, 2020, a member of the Royal Thai police with a protective mask walks under an umbrella at the Grand Palace in Bangkok.
In a photo taken on Feb 14, 2020, a member of the Royal Thai police with a protective mask walks under an umbrella at the Grand Palace in Bangkok.PHOTO: EPA-EFE

BANGKOK (REUTERS) - Thailand has recorded one new case of coronavirus, bringing the total in the country to 35 since January, a senior health official said on Monday (Feb 17).

The new case is a 60-year-old Chinese woman, whose family members earlier contracted the virus, Mr Sukhum Kanchanapimai, the health ministry's permanent secretary said in a news conference.

"This is from an old case of a Chinese family of nine, all of them have now been infected," he said. 

Fifteen of the infected people in Thailand have recovered and returned home, while 20 are still being treated in hospital.

The coronavirus, which is thought to have emerged at a wildlife market in China's central province of Hubei, has infected more than 70,000 people in the country.

Over 1,700 people in China have died from the virus along with a handful in other countries and territories but Thailand has not recorded any fatality so far.

Thai health authorities said they will expand virus screening to cover travellers from Japan and Singapore, in addition to those from mainland China, Hong Kong and Taiwan. 

Japan and Singapore have two of the highest numbers of reported cases outside China. 

Anyone from those places who displays coronavirus symptoms will be quarantined at a government hospital. 

"Travellers from Japan and Singapore that develop a fever or respiratory symptoms within 14 days of entering the country will be treated like travellers from China," Mr Sukhum said. 

In addition, Thailand will not allow entry by any foreign nationals who were passengers of the Westerdam cruise ship, now docked in Cambodia, after an American woman tested positive for coronavirus in Malaysia over the weekend. 

There were 21 Thai nationals on board the ship and health authorities said all of them will be quarantined for 14 days when they enter Thailand.