SEOUL, Jan. 27 (Yonhap) -- South Korea on Monday reported its fourth confirmed Wuhan coronavirus case amid mounting concerns the pneumonia-like illness is spreading to other parts of the world from China despite concerted quarantine efforts.
According to the Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (KCDC), a 55-year-old South Korean man who returned from the Chinese city of Wuhan on Jan. 20 tested positive for the new strain of the virus that has killed 80 people so far.
The person, whose identity was withheld, visited a local clinic a day after returning home when he showed signs of a cold. When his condition worsened, he was placed in quarantine on Sunday, the health safety agency said.
The country reported three confirmed cases of the new coronavirus strain on Jan. 20, Friday and Sunday and is keeping close tabs on those that may have come in contact with the patients.
On Sunday, health authorities said that they will greatly tighten rules on screening on people with symptoms and take steps to keep more people in quarantine and under close observation. The whole of China has been categorized as a "coronavirus risk area."
Common symptoms of the coronavirus, thought to have originated in Wuhan, central China, include fever, sore throat and breathing difficulties, with more acute cases bringing chills and muscle pain. Health experts said that elderly people and those with underlying disorders should be more careful.
The Ministry of Health and Welfare said it will hold a meeting of related officials later in the day to best respond to the current situation and come up with countermeasures.
China, meanwhile, has confirmed 2,744 people infected, 461 of whom are in a critical condition. Chinese authorities added that some of the new cases involve people in their 30s and 40s, with a nine month old baby also testing positive for the infection.
The total number of infected cases worldwide has reached 2,794. Outside China, Japan, Taiwan, Thailand, Vietnam, Singapore, Malaysia, Nepal, Macao, Hong Kong, France, Australia, and the United States have reported confirmed cases of the new virus.
Wuhan coronavirus, first reported on Dec. 31, 2019, 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.
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