China says 17 more infected with new coronavirus strain

Three major U.S. airports to screen passengers from China for deadly new virus

A mysterious SARS-like virus has spread to China and South Korea, the authorities said on Monday, fueling fears of a larger outbreak than millions are in the greatest migration of mankind for the new lunar year.

An outbreak of coronavirus in China is spreading to more cities, Chinese authorities reported on Monday, with 139 new cases found over the weekend, including a third death.

Three of those patients are seriously ill, according to a statement issued by the health commission in the central city of Wuhan, where all 62 of the cases in China have occurred.

Two of the new cases were reported in Beijing and another in Shenzhen.

Hundreds of millions of Chinese tourists will be traveling domestically and overseas during the Lunar New Year holiday period that starts later this week.

Meanwhile, China's National Health Commission said the outbreak of a new strain of coronavirus is controllable.

The virus - a new strain of coronavirus that humans can contract - has caused alarm because of its connection to SARS, which killed almost 650 people across China and Hong Kong in 2002-2003.

To be confirmed as a suspected case, a patient must exhibit similar symptoms to those who have been previously infected, have recently visited Wuhan or have been in close contact with someone who has visited the city.

So far, two cases have also been confirmed in Thailand and one in Japan. The outbreak of the disease is a never-before-seen strain belonging to a broad family of viruses ranging from the common cold to more serious illnesses such as SARS. "However, an increased level of alert and awareness is needed", said Sandeep Budhiraja, senior director, institute of internal medicine at Max Hospital in Delhi.

It's possible more than 1,700 people in Wuhan have been infected with the virus, Neil Ferguson and colleagues at Imperial College London, said in a study Friday. However, Chinese authorities later said the virus may have been spread between family members, opening the possibility of human-to-human transmission.

The WHO said on Sunday that China could potentially confirm more cases in the coming days and weeks as more people were screened for it. The first case of infection was also recorded in Japan.

The measures do not go as far those implemented at New York-JFK, San Francisco, and Los Angeles, where health experts are now individually screening all inbound passengers from Wuhan for fever and flu-like symptoms.

In Wuhan, where the virus began to spread, 198 cases have been reported, according to the Wuhan Municipal Health Commission.

The patient is a 35-year-old Chinese woman and resident of Wuhan, China who flew from Wuhan to Incheon global airport on Sunday, KCDC was quoted as saying in a statement.

The virus has caused alarm in China because of its connection to SARS. The woman, whose condition is improving, arrived from the central Chinese city of Wuhan.

Initially, authorities in Wuhan appeared to suggest new infections had stopped after the closure of the Huanan Seafood Market.

Common signs of new coronavirus infection include respiratory symptoms, fever, cough, shortness of breath and breathing difficulties, the World Health Organization said.



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