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Japan confirms man has same coronavirus as China outbreak

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Japan has confirmed a case of the new coronavirus that has killed one person and infected dozens more in China.

Officials said a 30-year-old man had tested positive after returning from the Chinese city of Wuhan.

He fell ill with a fever and cough on 3 January while in Wuhan, which was recently hit with a pneumonia outbreak caused by the new virus.

The infection raises concerns ahead of the Chinese new year holiday, regarded as the world’s largest annual mass movement of people.

Health authorities say a man who died from the mystery respiratory illness bought goods from a wholesale seafood market in Wuhan, China.
Image: The man who died in China bought goods from a market in Wuhan

Coronaviruses are a family of viruses that cause illness ranging from the common cold to more severe diseases.

In more severe cases, infection can cause pneumonia, severe acute respiratory syndrome, kidney failure and even death.

Officials said the man was taken to hospital on 6 January after symptoms persisted when he arrived back in Kanagawa prefecture, west of Tokyo.

More from China

Scans found signs of pneumonia and tests found the same coronavirus as people affected by the Wuhan outbreak, Japan health officials said.

The new coronavirus is believed to be from the same family of strains responsible for the deadly SARS virus
Image: Authorities in China have said the coronavirus is not SARS

The man, who the Kyodo News agency said is Chinese, has now been discharged from hospital after his condition improved.

Authorities said his family and the medical staff who treated him have not become sick.

Officials in Wuhan said last week that a 61-year-old man was China’s first known death from the new coronavirus, which emerged in December.

By early January it had infected 44 people in China and 15 in Hong Kong.

Scientists are trying to work out the source of the illness.

It has been linked to a food market in the city but officials have said it is not SARS – which killed hundreds during an epidemic in 2002 and 2003.

They have said the virus cannot be caught by simply passing by or talking to someone who is infected.

However, the World Health Organisation is concerned it could spread and has warned hospitals worldwide.

On Tuesday, it confirmed that a case of the coronavirus had been reported in a Chinese person in Thailand.

It is particularly worrying timing for the disease to spread, with the Chinese New Year approaching on 25 January.

Millions of people in China have already begun travelling for the celebration which is expected to last until 18 February.

China’s government estimates that people take three billion trips for the 40-day festival.

The US government has advised travellers to Wuhan to take precautions, while Chinese officials have urged people visiting or returning to the city to wear masks and seek medical attention if they develop a cough and fever.

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