Health Official Says British Man Cleared of China Coronavirus

Health officials check out a device that detects the new coronavirus at Suvarnamabhumi Airport on Jan. 5, 2020.

BANGKOK — A senior health official on Tuesday disputed a claim published in a British tabloid that a British tourist fell ill with a new strain of coronavirus that originated from China.

Ash Shorley, 32, was diagnosed with flu and bacterial infection in his lungs and not the virus as reported by The Sun, according to Sophon Iamsirithawon, director of the Department of Disease Control, which is tasked with monitoring the outbreak.

Sophon said the British tourist was first admitted to a hospital in Krabi province in December and later transferred to a hospital in Phuket, and then onward to Bangkok on Jan. 5. He said Shorley was “recovering” under treatment.

Read: Officials Confirm 1st Case of Coronavirus From China’s Wuhan



In the widely shared article, The Sun reported Shorley’s symptoms were consistent with the Chinese coronavirus and said he might be the first British man to contract the disease.

Thailand has detected two cases of people infected with the coronavirus so far, both of them Chinese tourists from Wuhan, where the mysterious disease is believed to have originated.

Sophon said one of the tourists was completely cured of the disease and already returned home on Jan. 18, though he added that health officials will continue to be on the lookout for more infection.