A woman working as a tour bus guide in Japan tested positive for the coronavirus a second time after an apparent recovery, the first in the country to do so as the infection continues to spread globally.
The Osaka resident, in her forties, first tested positive in late January after leading a tour that included visitors from China’s Wuhan, the outbreak epicentre. She was discharged from the hospital after recovering on February 1, prefectural authorities said in a statement.
On Wednesday, however, she tested positive again after developing a sore throat and chest pains about a week ago.
This is Japan’s first case in which a person has tested positive for a second time, as cases in the country rise to nearly 190 on Thursday. An additional 700 were infected aboard a cruise liner quarantined near Tokyo earlier this month. A total of seven have died in Japan, including those from the ship.
Cases of second successive positive tests on the same person have been reported in China, where the disease emerged late last year before spreading quickly around the world, infecting more than 82,000 and killing 2,800 globally.
It is unclear whether the virus lays dormant and resurfaces, or if patients are becoming re-infected.
Wan Qian, 45, an architect professor in Wuhan, and his family members continued testing positive even after he spoke with the Telegraph about their apparent recovery, and no longer had symptoms.
“God really told a joke to me,” he wrote online on February 15. “After 23 days of treatment under quarantine, our CT results improved significantly, our temperatures are normal, but the nucleic acid test results came out positive.”
The Wan family remains under quarantine, split between a hotel and a hospital, after weeks of being treated for the illness.
This week, 14 per cent of recovered virus patients again tested positive in Guangdong province, the second hardest-hit province in China with about 1,350 cases after Hubei, where Wuhan is, according to Chinese state media.
This comes as concerns rise in China of the disease being re-introduced to the country as the government fights to curb the outbreak, leading to new quarantine rules.
In Beijing, authorities have introduced measures to quarantine people upon from other countries hit seriously by the coronavirus,
Officials in Shanghai are also trying to identify anyone who came in contact with a newly-confirmed virus patient who had travelled from Iran through Russia to China.
Japan is the third-hardest hit country after South Korea at more than 1,500 infected and Italy at just under 500. The government has urged public gatherings and sporting events be cancelled for the next few weeks to prevent further infection, though authorities for now are still planning to hold the Olympic Games this summer in the city.
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