S. Korea raises alert level on new coronavirus pneumonia as it spreads rapidly
Updated: 2020-01-22 16:29:01 KST
We begin with the growing fear over the new coronavirus that originated in China and is rapidly spreading across China and to other countries.
440 cases have been confirmed in China.. with nine dead from the respiratory illness while one case has been confirmed in the U.S.
South Korea saw one confirmed case so far and all seven suspected patients were tested negative.
We now have our Oh Jung-hee on the line for the latest.
Jung-hee, fill us in.
Guys, earlier today, the Chinese health authorities held a press briefing and confirmed that the number of cases of a new coronavirus has risen to 440 in China and the death toll there to 9.
The patients are spread across 13 provinces and regions in China, while all 9 deaths have been reported in Hubei, the capital of Wuhan province.
The figures were current as of midnight Tuesday, so there is a possibility that the numbers could dramatically rise by the end of today.
On Tuesday alone, China confirmed almost 150 new cases.
It's been confirmed in other countries as well.
Two cases were found in Thailand and one each in South Korea, Japan and Taiwan.
The U.S. has also seen its first infection a man in Washington State experienced symtoms after returning from a trip to a region near Wuhan and was hospitalized.
Suspected cases are also popping up in the Philippines, Hong Kong, and Australia.
How's South Korea dealing with the outbreak?
4 people were tested after they showed some symptoms.
The Korea Centers for Disease Control & Prevention has tested 4 Koreans.
Three are people who sat close to the one confirmed patient on the plane from China to Korea and the other, having been to Wuhan, reported himself.
They tested negative, so, so far there are no additional cases of Wuhan pneumonia in Korea.
But there's a student in one of the Jeolla-do provinces who's currently in quarantine after showing symptoms.
This student had traveled to Beijing and Wuhan with 19 fellow students for a field trip after the virus broke out.
The government on Tuesday raised its alert level for the virus from "blue" to "yellow" and it's also ramping up screening and quarantine efforts.
The concern is that the virus could spread further as Chinese tourists flow into Korea during the Lunar New Year holiday.
President Moon Jae-in has ordered officials to help contain the spread of the Wuhan coronavirus and look into how the outbreak might affect the local economy.