North Korea has become the twenty-ninth country or territory to record a case of the killer coronavirus, it has been claimed.
A native citizen returned from China before being tested positive for the deadly virus, according to local media.
Sources told an English daily newspaper that the woman is from Pyongyang, the capital of the hermit Asian nation.
No further details about how she entered the country have been given – North Korea was one of the first countries to shut its borders to contain the killer outbreak.
In further developments, a woman from China has taken ill at Copenhagen Airport, Denmark, prompting a small area to be cordoned off. If tests come back positive, she would be the first case diagnosed on Danish soil.
The coronavirus epidemic has been confirmed in almost 30 countries and territories around the world, killing 638 and infecting more than 31,500.
The North Korean case has not yet been confirmed by officials, only reported by the English version of the South Korean newspaper JoongAng Ilbo.
Officials have been vigilant in isolating travellers from foreign countries and testing them for the coronavirus at airports.
During this process, the woman from Pyongyang, with a population of almost three million, was flagged.
North Korea borders with China, where 99 per cent of the 31,500 infected are. But is the only neighbouring territory to have steered clear of the deadly virus so far.
The reclusive country was one of the first to completely shut its borders to travellers and flights from China, introducing the measure on January 21.
It is not clear, therefore, exactly where the woman was flying from if she was returning from China.
Considering North Korean news reported there were zero coronavirus patients on Sunday, it is believed the woman was detected on Monday.
Song In-bom, a North Korean health official, appeared on the state-run Korean Central Television Sunday evening to reassure the public.
Song, however, said it wasn’t ‘time to be relieved’ because there was still potential the virus could read the North. ‘Civil awareness’ was urged.
The woman was showing symptoms of the virus while going through checks, a source told JoongAng Ilbo. Everyone who had close contact with the patient has also been quarantined.
South Korea has recorded 24 cases so far, and has banned all foreign travellers who have passed through Wuhan – the Chinese city where the coronavirus started – in the past 14 days.
In Denmark, a small area of Copenhagen Airport has been closed off while staff disinfect the area where a now hospitalised woman stood.
Copenhagen Airport press officer, Kenni Leth, said the woman arrived from China via Helsinki in Finland, The Guardian reports.
The passenger contacted airport staff on arrival around 7.40am on Friday morning because she was feeling sick.
She was found to have influenza-like symptoms characteristic of the novel coroanvirus and rushed to hospital in the city.
Leth said: ‘Given that the passenger contacted airport staff with influenza-like symptoms we, in accordance with procedures agreed with authorities, contacted emergency services and the passenger was picked up by ambulance.
‘An area of terminal three where the woman contacted staff has been cordoned off and will be sanitised in accordance with procedure.
‘You can still easily go to Terminal 3 and use most of the terminal. It is not affecting airport traffic.’
If the cases in North Korea and Denmark are confirmed, they follow an ongoing stream of countries or territories to announce coronavirus invasion, including the US, Australia, and UK.
The British Government is under mounting pressure to ban all travellers from coronavirus-hit China after 16 countries including the US, Australia, New Zealand and Saudi Arabia took the firm action.
Thousands of travellers from the disease-stricken China have been pouring into Britain every day without being properly tested for the infection, prompting calls for a similar blanket ban.
Downing Street issued updated travel advice tonight warning Britons flying back from nine countries to phone NHS 111 if they feel even slightly unwell.
Passengers who have arrived from mainland China, Thailand, Japan, South Korea, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Singapore, Malaysia or Macau, should call the NHS 111 service.
The third British patient was reported on Thursday – a businessman who had been to a conference of more than 100 delegates in Singapore.
He is being treated at an Airborne High Consequence Infectious Disease (AHCID) unit in Guy’s and St Thomas’ in London.
Only four hospitals in England are equipped with such wards in England. Access to these units is restricted to a team of trained medical staff who are made to wear protective gowns, face masks, visors and gloves before entering.
The first two patients are being treated in a specialist infectious diseases unit at the Royal Victoria Infirmary in Newcastle-upon-Tyne.
A twelfth American, in Wisconsin, was diagnosed with the deadly virus that’s spread rapidly since appearing at a seafood market in Wuhan, China.
In addition to the 12 confirmed cases of coronavirus in the US, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is testing 76 people for the infection.