U.S. to screen passengers for China mystery virus


The 69-year-old man had been admitted to hospital with abnormal renal function and severe damage to multiple organs, the Wuhan Municipal Health Commission said in a statement on its website late on Thursday.

The Chinese virus is a coronavirus, a large family of viruses that can cause infections ranging from the common cold to severe acute respiratory syndrome, or SARS, a highly infectious virus that originated in China in 2002 and eventually travelled to 37 countries, killing 774 people. A different coronavirus caused the SARS outbreak in China in 2003 which killed almost 800 people and also MERS, another severe respiratory ailment that has been present in Saudi Arabia and other Middle Eastern countries since 2012.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says travelers coming from the Chinese city of Wuhan will have their temperatures taken and be questioned about symptoms when they arrive at one of three worldwide airports.

Health officials have ruled out introducing screening for passengers at United Kingdom airports, despite mounting fears over a deadly new virus from China.

A report published by the London Imperial College's MRC Centre for Global Infectious Disease Analysis said there are likely "substantially more cases" of the new coronavirus than now announced by Wuhan authorities; its base scenario estimate is that there would be 1,723 cases showing onset of related symptoms by January 12.

China Coronavirus outbreak: How many people have REALLY been infected?

It is still not clear how well the virus can be transmitted, but there are indications of some limited spread from person-to-person, CDC officials said. The WHO said in a statement that global travel patterns increase the likelihood of further cases in other countries.

The Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) said on Friday it will not implement extra screening measures, but is "monitoring the situation closely with our partners on both sides of the border".

The latest outbreak comes ahead of the Lunar New Year holidays, when many of China's 1.4 billion people will be travelling to their home towns or overseas.

The news comes as Thailand reported on Friday that a second Chinese national has been found to be infected of the mystery virus.

"The earlier we detect a case, the better we can protect the public, and the more we can understand about this virus and its risk for spread", he said.

Most cases have been linked to the Wuhan South China Seafood City, suggesting a possible zoonotic origin to the outbreak. Given that three Chinese have been discovered overseas with the virus - two Chinese women visiting Thailand and a Chinese man working in Japan - and Wuhan's role as a major travel hub, the scientists believe the spread domestically could also be wider.

There are also concerns that the disease could spread across China and internationally.

China has reported 45 cases of a new kind of a coronavirus that officials are calling 2019-nCoV. "They all have Wuhan pneumonia cases but we don't apart from Wuhan - is that scientific?" "Although as per the World Health Organisation's risk assessment the risk for global spread has been stated as low, as a matter of abundant precaution".