Experts are urging the public not to enter southwest China's Tibet Autonomous Region for the time being, after the region reported the first confirmed case of novel coronavirus infection on Thursday.
The patient, surnamed Zhang, is receiving treatment at hospital. Authorities have placed close contacts under medical observation, according to the regional health commission. Tibet on Wednesday activated its highest level of emergency response.
As Tibet is going through the transition from winter to spring, its air is low in oxygen. Patients infected by the novel coronavirus will suffer from much more severe symptoms, said Shi Li, with the Tibet Autonomous Region People's Hospital.
Shi said Tibet has limited medical resources, and those infected may have to face greater mortality risk.
"Even regular cases of flu here take more time to recover because of the high altitude, cold and low oxygen," Shi said. "I advise people to stay at home and visit Tibet after the epidemic is totally under control."