Thailand has recorded its first human-to-human transmission of the new coronavirus, after a taxi driver was infected by a passenger, heightening concern over the virus’s potential to spread in the worst-hit country outside China.
The taxi driver was among five new patients confirmed on Friday, bringing the total number of cases in Thailand to 19.
The country is among the most popular holiday destinations for Chinese people celebrating the lunar new year, and officials have warned that an outbreak in its tourism hotspots is possible.
More than 25,000 people arrived in the country from Wuhan, the centre of the outbreak, and other affected Chinese cities between 3 and 27 January, according to Reuters.
Most of the Chinese visitors are believed to have returned home, although on Friday afternoon China’s foreign ministry said it would send charter flights to Thailand and Malaysia to bring home residents of virus-affected regions who may have been left stranded after sweeping travel restrictions were introduced across China last week.