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A thermal camera monitor shows the body temperature of international passengers arriving at the Incheon International Airport in South Korea. File photo: Yonhap via AP

Chinese worker who visited Wuhan quarantined as South Korea reports first possible case of mystery pneumonia virus

  • The 36-year-old woman, who works for a firm in Seoul, was diagnosed with pneumonia after returning from business trips in China
  • She was put in isolated treatment amid concerns she brought back a form of viral pneumonia that has sickened dozens in mainland China and Hong Kong in recent weeks
South Korea has put a Chinese woman under isolated treatment amid concerns that she brought back a form of viral pneumonia that has sickened dozens in mainland China and Hong Kong in recent weeks.
The Korea Centre of Disease Control and Prevention (KCDC) on Wednesday said that the 36-year-old woman, who was diagnosed with pneumonia on Tuesday following two business trips to China last month, represented the country’s first possible case of the respiratory illness whose cause remains unknown.

The unidentified woman, who works for a South Korean company near capital Seoul, has experienced cough and fever since returning from a five-day trip to the Chinese city of Xiamen on December 30, the KCDC said in a press release.

The woman had also visited Wuhan, the mainland Chinese city where the outbreak originated, for five days in mid-December.

She told South Korean doctors she made no contact with animals while she was there and did not visit a seafood market in Wuhan’s suburbs where most of the cases have been traced to.

The KCDC said the woman was in relatively good condition and undergoing tests at a hospital south of Seoul to confirm whether she has the same illness as the Wuhan patients.

“The person is not suffering from any serious ill health,” the KCDC said.

Concerns over silence from Wuhan on latest pneumonia patient numbers

South Korean officials have tightened monitoring of people entering from China and advised travellers to avoid contact with animals and take extra care in personal hygiene.

The disease – an unidentified form of viral pneumonia – has sent 59 people to the hospital in Wuhan in central Hubei province. As of Sunday, seven were in critical condition, while the rest were stable.

In Hong Kong, a total of 15 patients were being treated Sunday for symptoms including fever and respiratory infection after recent visits to Wuhan. It is not clear if they have the same illness as the Wuhan patients.