Published: Sun, January 19, 2020
Health Care | By Cedric Leonard

China reports four more outbreaks of viral pneumonia

China reports four more outbreaks of viral pneumonia

The WHO, China and other nations, including Taiwan, seek to prevent the further spread of the virus ahead of the Lunar New Year holiday next week, when many of China's 1.4 billion citizens will be traveling overseas.

Starting today (Jan. 17), people traveling from the city of Wuhan - where the outbreak originated - to the United States, will undergo screening at three US airports: San Francisco (SFO), New York (JFK) and Los Angeles (LAX), according to a statement from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

The United States announced Friday that it will begin screening passengers from three major airports arriving on flights from Wuhan.

So far, the risk to the American public is deemed to be low, but the CDC wants to be prepared and is taking precautions, the center's Dr. Martin Cetron said.

More than 40 cases of the newly identified coronavirus have been confirmed in Asia, including two deaths, although at least one involved a previous medical condition.

Japan and Thailand have both confirmed cases of the virus in travelers from Wuhan, with Thailand reporting a second case on Friday.

Chinese New Year, which falls on January 25, will see many tourists leave for Thailand and the country is on alert for further potential outbreaks.

The CBSA did say there are plans in progress "to implement signage" in Toronto, Vancouver and Montreal airports to raise awareness of the virus to travellers. Chinese health officials say many of those who became sick worked at or visited a seafood market in the suburbs of Wuhan.

Those who show possible signs will be shifted to another facility for additional screening and a rapid diagnostic test.

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The government has issued a travel advisory asking citizens to follow certain precautionary measures while visiting China in the wake of the outbreak of an infection there because of a new strain of virus which is causing respiratory problems.

2019-nCov is a flu-like deadly virus that can cause symptoms leading from a severe cold up to pneumonia.

However, the Wuhan Municipal Health Commission has not ruled out limited human-to-human transmission, revealing a woman may have contracted the virus from her husband.

The illness was first reported in December. But the magnitude of these numbers suggests that substantial human-to-human transmission can not be ruled out.

There have been two cases in Thailand and one in Japan.

Wuhan International Airport serves a population of 19 million people, but only 3,400 a day travel internationally.

FILE - A vendor gives out copies of newspaper with a headlines of "Wuhan breakout a new type of coronavirus, Hong Kong prevents SARS repeat" at a street in Hong Kong, Jan. 11, 2020.

"People should be considering the possibility of substantial human-to-human transmission more seriously than they have so far", he added, saying it was "unlikely" that animal exposure was the main source of infection.

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