China reports 17 more cases of deadly new virus

A health worker monitors a thermal scanner as passengers arrive at Narita airport near Tokyo

A health worker monitors a thermal scanner as passengers arrive at Narita airport near Tokyo

Majority appear to have left for home for the Chinese New Year holidays.

They said three of the people were "seriously ill" and that they would continue to look for suspected cases and conduct sampling tests.

Hospital authorities and police have warned people against speaking about the virus online or to the media, with eight people "dealt with" earlier this month after sharing information online.

The National Health Commission said on Sunday departments should work together to carry out preventative measures.

Of the new cases announced this weekend, all involve adults ages 25 to 89.

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The health commission's statement did not say whether these patients had visited the Huanan Seafood Wholesale Market, which has been suspended after many infected individuals reported having either worked at or visited the venue.

Of the 198 patients confirmed so far, 28 have recovered or been discharged.

No additional deaths were reported. Hospitalized patients in Wuhan are isolated at a designated facility.

A total of 681 among 763 close contacts who were placed under medical observation have been released. But the ECDC, the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control, provides reassurance about the risk of infection and concludes: "The probability of introduction of the virus into the EU is considered low". It estimated that there were 1,723 cases as of January 12 in Wuhan City. Shenzhen lies adjacent to Hong Kong. It said the Chinese government last week called for broader screening for nCoV and that cases may be identified in other cities in the days and weeks ahead.

Microbiologist Dr Siouxsie Wiles is warning travellers who may be heading to China to remember basic hygiene practices, including washing hands properly with soap and water and drying them well, as well as practicing good sneeze hygiene.

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Several complained about censorship of online posts, while others made comparisons to 2003, when Beijing drew criticism from the World Health Organization for underreporting the number of SARS cases.

A report by the London Imperial College's MRC Centre for Global Infectious Disease Analysis said there are likely to be "substantially more cases". Osterholm is director of the University of Minnesota's Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy, which publishes CIDRAP News.

On Saturday, health officials in the city confirmed four more people had contracted the illness. However, some cases have not been linked to this market and the source of the virus is still unknown, according to the Public Health Agency of Canada.

"We still need to understand the reservoir", he said. "I'm much more anxious than I was a week ago", said epidemiologist Neil Ferguson, one of the authors of a study that estimated infections in China based on the type of virus and the detection of some exported cases.

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