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Philippines investigates suspected case of Chinese virus

Health officials watch travelers on a thermographic monitor at the Kuala Lumpur International Airport in Sepang, Malaysia, Tuesday, Jan. 21, 2020. Countries both in the Asia-Pacific and elsewhere have initiated body temperature checks at airports, railway stations and along highways in hopes of catching those at risk of carrying a new coronavirus that has sickened more than 200 people in China. (AP Photo/Vincent Thian)

MANILA, Jan 21 (Reuters) - Philippine health authorities are investigating the case of a five-year old Chinese boy with a travel history to Wuhan, the central city where a new coronavirus was first discovered, after he showed flu-like symptoms before arriving in the country.

Health Secretary Francisco Duque said the boy tested positive for coronavirus, but it could not be ascertained what strain until the government gets back samples it sent to Australia.

He was confined to a hospital several hours after arriving in Cebu City in the central Philippines on Jan. 12 with his mother, after he manifested a fever, throat irritation and cough, Duque told a media briefing.

Authorities in China have confirmed the virus can be spread through human contact, reporting 15 medical staff had been infected and a fourth person had died.

The Philippines health ministry also said it was monitoring three other Chinese nationals who arrived from China with flu-like symptoms, but without any history of travel to Wuhan. (Reporting by Karen Lema; Editing by Andrew Cawthorne)