Jan. 30 (UPI) -- The deadly coronavirus is quickly spreading to areas of China near the North Korea border, a possible sign the outbreak that has infected thousands of people could eventually reach the Kim Jong Un regime.
China-based Yanbian Daily, a Korean-language newspaper in northeast China, reported Thursday local authorities confirmed one coronavirus patient in Yanbian, the predominantly ethnic Korean region adjacent to the North Korean border.
Yanbian is located in Jilin Province. By Thursday evening local time, South Korean television network SBS reported a total of two patients in Yanbian.
One patient was identified as a 27-year-old ethnic Korean-Chinese man, an employee of a science and technology firm in Wuhan, the central Chinese city where the outbreak was first reported in December.
On Jan. 23, the patient reportedly boarded flight CZ369 from Wuhan for Changchun, a northeastern Chinese city. He then rode a high-speed train, C1043, from Changchun, to his final destination, Tumen, which is located directly across the North Korea border.
The city of Tumen faces North Korea's North Hamgyong Province. Due to ongoing cross-border activity, there is concern the virus can spread quickly, according to South Korean news service News 1.
The disease is spreading to China's northeast at a time when other areas of China, including Tibet and Beijing, are reporting more cases.
South Korean television network SBS reported Thursday that Chinese authorities in Beijing are reopening a hospital built 17 years ago to contain severe acute respiratory syndrome, or SARS.
Anger may be growing in China, but may be being directed at suspected patients and people originating from Wuhan.
Unverified videos circulating on Chinese social media show villagers in Szechuan Province threatening violence against a man who allegedly hid the fact he was a confirmed patient.
Beijing, a city of more than 21 million people, is also on high alert as secondary infections are increasing, according to SBS.