China's Wuhan reports 17 new pneumonia cases

China's Wuhan reports 17 new pneumonia cases

China's Wuhan reports 17 new pneumonia cases

India has issued a travel warning in light of the unsafe new virus on the move in the country, with officials boosting security and health screenings at Indian airports.

The unknown virus however is from the same large family of coronaviruses that includes Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS), which killed almost 800 people globally during a 2002-03 outbreak that also started in China. Memories remain fresh in Asia of a 2002/03 outbreak of Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS), which emerged in China and killed almost 800 people worldwide. The total known number of people infected now stands at 62, of which two people have died, and five are in a critical condition.

So far, the new virus has spread outside of China to Japan and Thailand, and CDC officials said in a conference call with reporters that they expect more cases will be reported outside of China.

Authorities in Singapore and Hong Kong have begun screening all air passengers from Wuhan and U.S. authorities announced similar measures at major airports in San Francisco, LA and NY. The city's health commission confirmed a second death this week, a 69-year-old man who fell ill on December 31 and died Wednesday. CDC officials say people shouldn't freak out and that more common illnesses such as the flu are much bigger threats to Americans than this new virus from China.

While coronaviruses often simply cause harmless illnesses such as colds, strains like SARS can cause acute respiratory disease. Since then, there have been no new cases of SARS reported anywhere in the world.

The advisory asks travellers to maintain good personal hygiene, wash hands frequently, follow respiratory etiquette and avoid contact with people who seem unwell.

Investigations are continuing, aimed at identifying the source of the new Coronavirus.

The Chinese Lunar New Year is a one-week holiday that starts from January 24 this year.

Health authorities in Thailand and Japan have also identified infected patients.

The authorities said that most people with the infection had contracted it through exposure to animals at a market in Wuhan that sells seafood and live animals, and it was uncertain whether the virus could spread from human to human.

The patients showed symptoms such as fever or cough, the Wuhan Municipal Health Commission said. It said the three people involved were treated at hospitals. The municipality has taken various measures, including ordering the closure of the market, where disinfection and tests were carried out.

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