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China reports 4 more cases in viral pneumonia outbreak

Health authorities are trying to avoid a repeat of SARS, or severe acute respiratory syndrome, which spread from southern china to more than 2 dozen countries.
Credit: AP
Pedestrians wear protective masks as they walk through a shopping district in Tokyo Thursday, Jan. 16, 2020.

Four more cases have been identified in a viral pneumonia outbreak in a central Chinese city that has killed two and prompted the United States and others to take precautionary measures. 

The Wuhan Municipal Health Commission said Saturday that 45 people have contracted the illness caused by a new type of coronavirus. 

Five are in serious condition. Health authorities are keen to avoid a repeat of SARS, or severe acute respiratory syndrome, which spread from southern China to more than two dozen countries and killed nearly 800 people. 

RELATED: 3 major US airports to screen passengers from China for new virus

The U.S. announced Friday it would begin screening passengers arriving on flights from the outbreak city of Wuhan. 

Officials estimate roughly 5,000 passengers will go through the process in the next couple of weeks at New York City’s JFK International Airport, Los Angeles International Airport and San Francisco International Airport.  

At least a half-dozen countries in Asia have started screening incoming airline passengers from central China. The list includes Thailand and Japan, which both have reported cases of the disease in people who had come from Wuhan. Travel is unusually heavy right now as people take trips to and from China to celebrate the Lunar New Year.

The CDC said the airport screenings are part of an effort to better detect and prevent the virus from the same family of bugs that caused an international outbreaks of SARS and MERS that began in 2002 and 2012.