The Health Secretary, Sophia Chan, on Friday said authorities have increased staff numbers and stepped up checks at the border points in the run-up to the Chinese New Year holiday.

Chan was speaking a day after Japan confirmed its first case of the new coronavirus that was reported first in Wuhan. Thailand later reported it has found a second case of the virus in a traveller who arrived from Wuhan.

On the mainland, only Wuhan city has reported cases of the new coronavirus.

Chan didn’t give a specific answer to a question on whether the government is going to ask travellers arriving from Wuhan to sign health declarations. Instead, the top health official said there are temperature checks already in place at airports and other entry points.

During the Sars outbreak in 2003, everyone arriving in Hong Kong was required to complete a health declaration form which were distributed even before they set foot in the city.

Chan said the Centre for Health Protection now requires doctors to report to the authorities if any patient suffering from fever has visited mainland hospitals in the past 14 days or if they have had close contact with a confirmed case of the illness.

The health secretary said authorities would be extra vigilant at all 14 border control points during the Chinese New Year holidays when travel numbers surge.

“We have to be on guard and maintain high vigilance in our health departments and also in the Hospital Authority,” she said.

Some mainland internet users have raised concerns that officials there have not given out all available information on the Wuhan illness and compared this with 2003 when information about the spreading of the Sars virus was not revealed.