China reports four more cases in viral pneumonia outbreak

BEIJING (AP) — Four more cases have been identified in a viral pneumonia outbreak in the central Chinese city of Wuhan that has killed two people and prompted countries as far away as the United States (US) to take precautionary measures.

The latest cases bring to 45 the number of people who have contracted the illness, the Wuhan Municipal Health Commission said yesterday. Five are in serious condition, two died and 15 have been discharged. The others are in stable condition.

The cause of the pneumonia has been traced to a new type of coronavirus.

Health authorities are keen to avoid a repeat of severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS), another coronavirus that started in southern China in late 2002 and spread to over two dozen countries, killing nearly 800 people.

The US announced on Friday that it would begin screening passengers at three major airports arriving on flights from Wuhan. The Centres for Disease Control and Prevention said it would deploy 100 people to take the temperatures and ask about symptoms of incoming passengers at the Los Angeles, San Francisco and New York City’s Kennedy airports.