Chinese officials confirm 17 new cases of coronavirus


Both patients who died were older adults and one of the two patients had known serious underlying medical conditions.

The United States said on Friday that it would begin screening efforts at three USA airports to track travellers from Wuhan who may have symptoms of the fever.

VOA's Mandarin service spoke to three passengers who described the process: An airline crewmember distributed forms seeking basic information, such as personal information and whether they had been to Wuhan. They can measure your temperature there. One of the important things is that we also have to wait a little while because one of the ways to find out if people have been affected is to look for antibodies and that takes a few weeks for people's bodies to respond. Wuhan officials said since 14 January they are using infrared thermometers at airports, railway stations and other passenger terminals in the city to strengthen screening.

In the most recently diagnosed group, ages ranged between 30 and 79, Wuhan's health commission said.

In a statement sent in response to questions from this newspaper, the Public Health Agency said the risk to Canadians has been assessed as low because Canada has no direct flights from Wuhan and the volume of travelers arriving indirectly from Wuhan is low.

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It is thought most people contracted it through exposure to animals at a market that sells seafood and meat in Wuhan.

China, the World Health Organizations and authorities across the globe are stepping up efforts to contain the virus, which initially emerged in Wuhan in late December as a wave of pneumonia patients.

If the reported infections are confirmed, they would be the first cases of the disease in the mainland outside Wuhan.

There are fears that the mysterious respiratory virus in China could make its way to the United Kingdom, amid global fears over its spread.

Chinese authorities have suggested that no human-to-human transmission has been confirmed. Scientists say that it is also possible that the virus could mutate to become more unsafe.

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Four new cases of an unfamiliar lung illness were reported in China on Saturday, increasing fears that the disease could spread as the country gears up for the most massive human migration on earth.

The novel virus is a new strain that has not previously been identified in humans.

News about the outbreak was trending on Weibo, a microblogging platform in China, on Sunday morning. Wuhan is a main hub in China's railway network.

"It still requires close monitoring for any possible mutations", the commission said.

Chen said passengers with fevers were being registered, given masks and taken to medical institutions, and almost 300,000 body temperature tests had been carried out, according to CCTV.

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Illness symptoms related to the outbreak as said to include fever, cough, and difficulty breathing.