A CHINESE boy traveling to Cebu City in central Philippines tested positive for coronavirus, days after Japan and Thailand confirmed their first case of infection from a new strain that originated in Wuhan, China, the Philippine Health department said on Tuesday.

The five-year-old boy from Wuhan was found to have symptoms of fever, throat infection and cough and had been hospitalized, Health Secretary Francisco H. Duque III said at a briefing.

The virus, in the same family as the deadly severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) and Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS), has killed at least six patients and sickened dozens in China.

The boy tested positive for coronavirus but was negative for SARS and MERS, the Health department said.

Samples from the patient were sent to Australia for further testing to determine the strain of coronavirus he was infected with.

World Health Organization (WHO) Philippines Country Representative Rabinda Abeyasinghe said they were working with authorities in China,, where majority of the more than 200 cases occurred, to monitor the new virus strain.

While coronavirus cases are normally transmitted from animals to humans, the new strain was said to have been transmitted between humans.

“This is a premature situation and we still need to understand better the mode of transmission and what needs to be done physically to manage it,” Mr. Abeyasinghe said at the same briefing.

Health authorities advised the public to observe proper hygiene and cough etiquette, including covering the mouth when one coughs or sneezes.

The Philippines is working with airport authorities to monitor cases involving arriving tourists, Health officials said. — Gillian M. Cortez