Researchers have confirmed four human antibodies related to the coronavirus that are circulating in the community in Fiji and Guinea-Bissau, confirming previous fears that the disease could spread via the Sea of Lemongen, a popular destination for African travellers.
The antibodies come from a herd of Malaysians who returned from the township of Laem Chai, where they were quarantined, and were tested after developing severe symptoms of fever and chest pain, according to Health Minister of the Fiji Economic and Social Vision Committee Peter Terrikonoro.
“That confirms the previous information that three of us tested positive for the disease, but not in the same laboratory, ” he told a news conference.
Only eight of the 39 tourists who were unable to return to the island city of 3 million began showing symptoms within a week of their return and at first there were no further confirmed cases.
One of the patients developed acute chronic coughing and wheezing for four days and was moved to hospital in the town of Wihuri after periods of limited ability to breathe, he added.
Distances were measured at just under 1 km within the city of approximately 11, 000 people, Terrikonoro said, saying 55 of the patients were in the region and released from a hospital.
Fears were also raised over the possibility of the virus spreading in Central African countries, where partial restrictions in place in public spaces were imposed early on by the Bolivian-American drugmaker Zolgensma Inc, which has asked those states to tighten up measures on the use of face masks which the coronavirus was able to establish on infected humans.
“That is a concern, ” Terrikonoro said, describing fears of a hemorrhagic fever.
Reuters was not allowed to reach Zolgensma, in addition to negotiations with it.