Taiwan confirms first case of infection from new coronavirus

TAIPEI (Reuters) - Taiwan on Tuesday confirmed the first case of infection from the new coronavirus, a woman in her 50s who had returned to the island after working in the Chinese city of Wuhan where the outbreak began.

The Taiwan Centres for Disease Control said the woman, from southern Taiwan, had returned to the island on Monday and had been sent to the hospital from the airport after showing symptoms such as fever and coughing.

It called on people not to panic saying the woman had been identified as soon as she arrived in Taiwan.

Taiwan has already alerted China and the World Health Organisation about the case, the government added.

The outbreak has spread from the central Chinese city of Wuhan to cities including Beijing and Shanghai. Other cases have also been reported outside China, including in South Korea, Thailand and Japan.

Taiwan, which has close economic and people-to-people links with China despite political tensions between the two sides, on Monday set up an epidemic response command center to coordinate the island’s response to the virus.

Taiwan has also prepared more than 1,000 beds in isolation wards in case the virus spreads further.

Reporting by Emily Chan; Writing by Ben Blanchard; Editing by Andrew Heavens & Simon Cameron-moore