Wuhan virus: Man in Mexico ill after visiting Wuhan

Passengers walk near the arrivals gate at the Abelardo L. Rodriguez International airport in Tijuana, Mexico, on Jan 22, 2019. PHOTO: AFP

MEXICO CITY (BLOOMBERG) - A man who fell ill in Mexico on Monday (Jan 20) following a December trip to Wuhan, China, is under observation as a potential case of the coronavirus, the respiratory virus that has killed at least 17 people worldwide.

The 57-year-old molecular biology professor works for the Instituto Politecnico Nacional university in the city of Reynosa, which borders the United States.

The man returned to Mexico on Jan 10 through a Mexico City airport and then flew to the state of Tamaulipas, Mexican authorities said.

Tamaulipas State Health Minister Gloria Molina said in a radio interview that the man immediately reported his situation to the authorities after feeling sick. He is now in his home under monitoring to prevent any potential spread. His test results are expected on Thursday, Mexico's chief epidemiologist Jose Luis Alomia said in a press conference on Wednesday afternoon.

Ms Molina said the man also had layovers at the border city of Tijuana when he left and returned to Mexico, according to journalist Joaquin Lopez Doriga's news site.

Earlier on Wednesday, President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador said that a second possible case in Mexico had been ruled out.

"The coronavirus is being looked into. If we have more information we will release it later today," he said.

Mexico plans to inform daily on the latest developments of the virus around the world. A preventive travel recommendation is in place for the country and passengers arriving from international ports will be checked for any symptoms, Mr Alomia said.

Separately, Colombian authorities are also evaluating whether a Chinese man with a respiratory illness, who travelled to Colombia from Turkey, has the same virus, according to Blu, a Bogota-based radio station. The country's health ministry declined to comment.

The director-general of the World Health Organisation, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, said he needs to consider all evidence before deciding if the coronavirus that emerged from Wuhan is an international health emergency.

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