Japan’s Health Ministry said in a statement on Jan. 15 that a Chinese man in his 30s tested positive for the novel pneumonia-like coronavirus (2019-nCoV). The man returned to Japan on Jan. 6 after traveling to the central Chinese city of Wuhan, the epicenter of the outbreak. The man, who came down with a fever on Jan. 3, was hospitalized on Friday but was discharged five days later because he had recovered.
Japan’s Health Ministry said the patient had not visited any seafood markets in China, adding that “it is possible that the patient had close contact with an unknown patient with lung inflammation while in China.”
The detection of the virus in Japan adds to fears that it will spread outside China’s borders after a case was also reported in Thailand this week.
Thai health authorities said on Wednesday they were stepping up monitoring of passengers arriving at airports ahead of the Lunar New Year holiday, when 800,000 Chinese tourists are expected to visit the country. The World Health Organization (WHO) has said the new virus could spread and has warned hospitals worldwide. 
In a commentary published in the International Journal of Infectious Diseases, members of the Pan-African Network on Emerging and Re-emerging Infections, which includes scientists involved in past coronavirus outbreak investigations, said this novel coronavirus may be related to the sale of wild animals as game food at the seafood market. And the clinical infections, when compared to SARS and MERS-CoV, seem to be milder in severity, lethality, and transmissibility. “There is currently no clear evidence of human to human transmission,” they wrote.
Editor’s Note: This article was published in the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic before the emerging novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) was named SARS-CoV-2.