U.S. boosts screening for new coronavirus


They say they're introducing tighter checks at three global airports before the Chinese holiday season begins next week.

One patient in Thailand and another in Japan have been diagnosed with the virus.

Two men aged in their 60s have died in China after being struck by the virus, which is understood to have broken out in Wuhan.

The Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare on Friday issued an advisory for travelers visiting China in the wake of the Novel Coronavirus outbreak in the neighbouring country.

"This is the stage of the investigation where we need to proceed cautiously and be prepared for any eventuality", said Dr. Nancy Messonnier, an expert in respiratory diseases at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in the US.

A World Health Organization doctor has said it would not be surprising if there was "some limited human-to-human transmission, especially among families who have close contact with one another".

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Mild coronaviruses cause the common cold, but more deadly strains can trigger severe acute respiratory syndrome (Sars), which killed almost 800 of the 8,000 people infected in an outbreak in 2002.

Its symptoms include a runny nose, headaches, coughing, sore throat, fever and a general feeling of being unwell.

USA authorities will begin screening passengers Friday arriving on direct or connecting flights from a Chinese city at the heart of a mysterious SARS-like virus responsible for two deaths.

The four individuals were diagnosed with pneumonia on Thursday and are in stable condition, the Wuhan Municipal Health Commission said in a statement published shortly after midnight, a day after it confirmed the death of a second patient.

Five people are treated as "severe cases", it said.

In China, authorities have confirmed 41 people have the novel coronavirus and two deaths have occurred so far.

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Thailand has announced a second case of Chinese coronavirus that has killed two people. So far, six suspected cases have been detected, including one yesterday.

The illness was first reported in late December in Wuhan, in central China.

Authorities in Wuhan said a seafood market was the centre of the outbreak.

Coronaviruses are a family of viruses that can cause a variety of ailments, among them the deadly severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) and Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS). Kyodo News agency reported the man is Chinese.

In a media statement yesterday, the Ministry of Health (MOH) said that the 69-year-old male Singaporean has been admitted for further assessment and treatment.

January 14 2020: The WHO told hospitals around the globe to prepare, in the "possible" event of the infection spreading. "It is probable that we are looking at patients being affected over a number of days from multiple animal sources and with some degree of human-to-human transmission", said Farrar. The Wuhan health authorities said transmission between humans "cannot be ruled out".

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In Vietnam, a 22-year-old man and a 3-year-old boy are being tested for the new corona virus.