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VIRUS OUTBREAK

Infected flight attendant worked LA route: S Korea

Seoul

A KOREAN Air flight attendant who worked on flights between Seoul and Los Angeles subsequently tested positive for the novel coronavirus, South Korea's disease control agency and sources said on Thursday.

South Korea reported 334 additional cases of the new coronavirus on Thursday, the largest daily increase yet, as the US State Department issued a new travel warning for South Korea. The new cases bring the total tally to 1,595, giving South Korea the biggest number of infected people outside China.

The flight attendant worked on Korean Air's flight KE017 from Seoul's Incheon airport to Los Angeles on Feb 19, and on the return flight KE012 on Feb 20, Yonhap news agency and other media reported.

"She took a flight after showing symptoms, and we are investigating people who had contact with the employee on the flight," the Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (KCDC) said on Thursday. The flight attendant, described as being in her 20s, later tested positive for the virus, and she is currently in hospital.

The crew member had been on a Korean Air KE958 flight from Israel to Incheon on Feb 15-16, the KCDC said. The passengers included a South Korean religious group that 31 cases have been traced to.

Meanwhile, a woman in Japan who contracted the virus and was released from hospital after recovering has tested positive again, officials said on Thursday. The case is the first time a patient apparently cleared of the virus has subsequently tested positive for it, an official in Osaka said.

The woman in her 40s was first confirmed as infected with the coronavirus on Jan 29. She was working as a guide on a tour bus with tourists from Wuhan in January. After being discharged from hospital she tested negative for the virus on Feb 6. She had no symptoms a week later, but returned to the doctor on Feb 21 complaining of a sore throat and chest pains. On Wednesday, she tested positive for a second time.

At least 186 in Japan have contracted Covid-19, with three deaths linked to the outbreak. REUTERS, AFP