(ATTN: RECASTS headline; UPDATES with more details in paras 1-6, 14)
SEOUL, Feb. 4 (Yonhap) -- South Korea on Tuesday confirmed its 16th case of the novel coronavirus infection, with the latest patient having recently visited Thailand, as more stringent quarantine measures are being taken to stem the spread of the virus.
The patient, a 42-year-old South Korean woman, returned from a trip to Thailand on Jan. 19 and started feeling chills on Jan. 25, according to the Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (KCDC).
Her condition did not improve despite receiving treatment for several days, so she was tested at a general hospital in Gwangju, 330 kilometers south of Seoul, on Monday, with the test results coming back positive. Thailand has reported 19 cases of virus infections.
The KCDC said that she has been placed in quarantine with efforts under way to find out where she has been and whom she met, to see if they too have symptoms.
The latest case, which is likely to be a person-to-person transmission, is the second one involving a person who has not been to China but could have contracted the illness in a foreign country, although this has not been determined yet.
On Saturday, a 48-year-old Chinese man, who worked as a guide in Japan, arrived here and tested positive.
Since Jan. 3, the public health authorities have checked 607 people, with 462 testing negative. The agency said 129 are in quarantine and being checked for potential cases.
It stated that 1,318 people who have been in contact with the confirmed coronavirus patients here are being closely monitored for symptoms.
The KCDC said that as of early Tuesday, the virus that is thought to have originated in Wuhan, China claimed 426 lives, while infecting over 20,000 people in 27 countries.
Health authorities said that despite the new case, it is ready to discharge its first fully recovered coronavirus patient from a hospital this week as he has made a full recovery and is showing no symptoms of the illness.
The 55-year-old South Korean who had been to Wuhan, China, the epicenter of the outbreak, returned home on Jan. 22 and tested positive for the illness two days later.
He was the second person to have been tested with the virus after the first incident was reported on Jan. 20. The agency said it has already delisted 45 people who came into contact with the country's first confirmed case as of Tuesday, after none showed signs of getting sick.
The National Medical Center, where the patient is staying, said earlier in the day that he has been completely treated for pneumonia and is in good health and able to resume a normal life.
The KCDC said that as of early Tuesday, the virus has claimed 426 lives, while infecting over 20,000 people in 27 countries.
The health authorities said despite stepped-up efforts to contain the spread of the virus, it is unlikely the matter will be resolved anytime soon.
Starting Tuesday, non-Korean travelers coming from or through China's Hubei province are denied entry into South Korea as the country is widening efforts to combat the continuing spread of the novel coronavirus.
The entry ban applies to all non-Korean travelers who over the past 14 days have stayed or traveled to the Chinese province, the home to Wuhan where the new coronavirus originated.
It is part of South Korea's first border control measures taken to avert the further advance of the epidemic into the country.
Ateez to drop new Japanese EP next week
Gov't to significantly increase international flights to meet travel demand
(2nd LD) BTS wins three Billboard Music Awards, marking 6th year to win an award
Crypto investor probed over allegedly visiting house of Terraform's CEO
(2nd LD) N. Korea still unresponsive to S. Korea's outreach for talks on COVID-19: official
S. Korea to send condolence delegation to UAE over death of president
(LEAD) Yoon, PPP lawmakers travel to Gwangju en masse to commemorate 1980 democracy uprising
(5th LD) N.K. leader, wearing mask, chairs meeting on omicron outbreak
(URGENT) N. Korea says fever symptoms reported among more than 18,000 people Thursday alone amid COVID-19 outbreak
(LEAD) Presidential secretary resigns amid controversy over remarks on homosexuality
(2nd LD) S. Korea, U.S. have 'plan B' ready in case of N.K. provocation during Biden's visit
(3rd LD) N. Korean missile or nuclear test very possible during Biden's Asia trip: Sullivan
S. Korea to resume issuing short-term travel visas, e-visas next month
Former President Moon scheduled to meet Biden in Seoul this weekend
(LEAD) Yoon to virtually attend summit launching IPEF