TOKYO: The Japanese health ministry said Thursday it has confirmed the first case of infection in the country from a new type of coronavirus that led to an outbreak of viral pneumonia in the Chinese city of Wuhan.
A man in his 30s in Kanagawa Prefecture, south of Tokyo, has tested positive for the same coronavirus strain that sickened many people in Wuhan after returning from the Chinese city, the ministry said. He is a Chinese citizen, a government source said.
The government is collecting information through a liaison office set up at the crisis management center of the prime minister’s office.
The man has had a fever since Jan. 3 while staying in Wuhan and had medical attention on Jan. 6 after returning to Japan, according to the ministry.
After being hospitalized on Jan. 10, he left hospital on Wednesday as symptoms were relieved.
On Wednesday night, the National Institute of Infectious Diseases in Tokyo found that the man tested positive for the new coronavirus strain.
There have been no reports of transmission of the virus to his family or hospital staff, according to the ministry.
The man has said he did not visit a seafood market in Wuhan at the center of the outbreak, but he may have had a contact with a pneumonia victim there, according to the ministry.
The possibility of the coronavirus’ transmission through close contact with infected people such as living together cannot be ruled out, but the risk of its spread is low, said Eiji Hinoshita, an official at the ministry’s Tuberculosis and Infectious Diseases Control Division.
The government will continue to take all possible measures including thorough health checks at quarantine stations, while providing the public with related information, Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga said at a press conference.
The new coronavirus strain had been detected in 41 people in Wuhan since reports of mysterious viral pneumonia cases broke in the Chinese city in December, leaving a 61-year-old man dead.
On Wednesday, the Wuhan city government said the possibility of human-to-human transmission of the virus cannot be ruled out, citing a case involving a man and his wife.