Colombo: Sri Lankan authorities have confirmed the first case of novel coronavirus after a Chinese woman was diagnosed with the disease, making the island nation the second South Asian country after Nepal to report a confirmed case.
On Monday night, the Health Promotion Bureau said that the woman was admitted to the Infectious Diseases Hospital (IDH) and was confirmed to have been infected during treatment, reports the Daily Financial Times.
The Health Ministry has assured that all steps have been taken to contain the infection, and called on the public not to panic.
The Chinese woman was reported to have come from China’s Hubei province, where the outbreak originated in its capital city of Wuhan.
News of the first case, triggered panic-buying of surgical masks with many pharmacies across Sri Lanka running out of supplies by Monday.
In South Asia, Nepal has reported one confirmed case, Pakistan has five suspected cases, while there has been no confirmations from India and Bangladesh so far.
As of Tuesday, 106 people died due to the coronavirus in China, with 4,515 confirmed cases in 30 provincial-level regions.
Other countries with confirmed cases outside of China, Hong Kong, Taiwan and Macau include Germany, Cambodia, Thailand, Australia, Singapore, the US, Japan, Malaysia, South Korea, France, Vietnam, Canada and Ivory Coast.
No deaths have been reported outside of China.
The symptoms of the new coronavirus are similar to those of cold but may be accompanied by fever and fatigue, dry cough and dyspnea (shortness of breath).
The WHO is yet to declare the outbreak as a global epidemic.