TAIPEI (CNA) — Taiwan’s Centers for Disease Control on Thursday upgraded its travel alert for Wuhan, citing the possibility of limited human-to-human transmission of a new type of coronavirus in the eastern China city.
So far, China has confirmed 41 cases of the 2019 novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV), reporting one death and six patients in critical condition.
The virus has also been reported this week in two other countries — Thailand, where the patient was a tourist from Wuhan, and in Japan, where one case was confirmed Thursday.
The outbreak in China is associated with animals sold at the Huanan Seafood City market in Wuhan.
In its upgraded travel alert, the CDC said people planning to travel to Wuhan should avoid crowded traditional markets and hospitals there and should not touch wildlife or poultry.
CDC Deputy Director-General Chuang Jen-hsiang (莊人祥) also advised people who have visited Wuhan to inform a doctor of their travel history, if they develop symptoms such as fever or respiratory tract infection within 14 days after they return to Taiwan.
According to two Taiwanese health experts who recently visited Wuhan to learn more about the mysterious pneumonia outbreak, some of the infections were occurring in clusters.
Among the 41 confirmed cases, there were two clusters in families, including a married couple, said CDC doctor Hung Min-nan (洪敏南) and CDC infection control officer Chuang Yin-ching (莊銀清) at a press conference.
The husband was working at the Huanan Seafood City market in Wuhan, where most of the cases are believed to have originated, while the wife developed symptoms of the disease five days after her husband, but she was not otherwise associated with the market, they said.
That was an indication that limited human-to-human transmission within a household cannot be ruled out, Hung said.
In the second cluster, three people who worked at the market developed symptoms over two days, he said, adding that about 70 percent of the 41 cases were linked to the market.
Limited human-to-human transmission means that people in close contact with an infected person have a high risk of contracting the virus, according to Chuang. Chinese authorities have asked people who have had close contact with infected patients not to leave Wuhan during the quarantine period, to prevent the spread of the virus, he said.