SEOUL, Jan 23 -- South Korea's public health authorities on Thursday remained on alert and spared no efforts to prevent the spread of Wuhan coronavirus during the upcoming four-day Lunar New Year holiday, reported Yonhap News Agency.
The country reported its first confirmed case of the new coronavirus on Monday when a Chinese resident who arrived at Incheon International Airport, the country's main gateway, on Sunday tested positive for the virus.
Airports across the nation have been ratcheting up their monitoring and checking of passengers from China and other countries for signs of illness, with local authorities accelerating quarantine efforts to contain the virus during the busy Lunar New Year travel season.
Citizens should follow strict personal hygiene rules whether they are in the country or travelling abroad, especially since there is expected to be an influx of Chinese tourists coming to the South Korea during the holiday period, according to the Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (KCDC).
Common symptoms of the coronavirus, thought to have originated in Wuhan, central China, include fever, sore throat and breathing difficulties.
Lunar New Year is celebrated by both Korean and Chinese people. The traditional holiday, which kicks off Friday, will see increased movement within the country and abroad, potentially exposing more people to the virus, the centre said.
China said Wednesday that the virus had killed 17 so far, with over 570 citizens confirmed to be infected, amid concerns that the pneumonia-like illness is spreading quickly and widely.
Beijing pledged on Wednesday to pool all of its resources to contain the further spread of the disease, especially since many people have time off till the end of the month so they can visit family and friends.
Japan, Taiwan, Thailand and the United States have also reported confirmed cases of the disease.
The KCDC said that four suspected cases have tested negative for Wuhan coronavirus and that none of the 16 suspected cases so far reported in the country have been linked to the virus.
The new coronavirus, first reported in China late last year, was originally believed to be passed to humans from animals but is now known to be transmissible person to person, although victims may be contracting the virus by coming in contact with saliva and other bodily fluids rather than through airborne factors.
The KCDC said local health experts will be sent to China so they can better look after South Korean citizens living there.
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