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South Korea confirms new case of coronavirus; man infected after attending conference in Singapore

South Korea has confirmed two new cases of the deadly coronavirus in the country, and one of them was in Singapore last month for work. This brings the total number of cases recorded in the country at 18.

On Wednesday (5 February), the Korea Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (KCDC) said that a 38-year-old South Korean man had travelled to Singapore for a conference from 18 to 24 January, and got into contact with the Malaysian man who was tested positive for the virus, Yonhap reported.

Newspaper Joongang Ilbo reported that the man had a meal with the Malaysian man and other South Koreans during the conference.

Yesterday, the Malaysian health authorities announced its first citizen to be infected with the coronavirus. It appears that the 41-year-old Malaysian man from Selangor visited Singapore from 16 to 23 January to attend a meeting with colleagues from China. One of his colleagues was from Wuhan – the city at the centre of the outbreak.

Upon hearing the news about the Malaysian man, the South Korean visited a local screening centre on Tuesday, and his test results came positive on Wednesday.

The man is South Korea’s 17th confirmed cases of the deadly coronavirus, while a 21-year-old Korean woman became the country’s 18th case. She is the daughter of the 16th confirmed case in South Korea, and she was tested positive on Wednesday while in isolation.

Singapore’s Ministry of Health (MOH) said on Tuesday that the meeting that the Malaysian man attended took place at the Grand Hyatt.

It added that the Republic has initiated epidemiological investigations and was working closely to track all the individuals who were in close contact with the cases.

The KCDC also noted that it has started contact tracing for all the country’s confirmed cases in order to find out where these individual went and the people that they may have met.

As of early Wednesday, the virus has killed almost 500 people and infected close to 24,300 individuals, nearly all of them in Hubei, and spread to two dozen countries since it emerged in December 2019 at a market that sold wild animals in the city.

The number of infections has exceeded the total reported in the Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) epidemic in 2003.

In Singapore, 18 cases have been reported as of 1 February. The novel coronavirus also claimed its first fatality outside of mainland China when a man died due to the virus in the Philippines.

On Thursday, the World Health Organisation (WHO) also declared the outbreak in China a global public health emergency, and noted that there are chances for the virus to spread to countries that lack the capabilities to deal with it.

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