Asian airports screen travelers for mystery virus

Science & Health

The number of people infected with a “mysterious viral pneumonia” in the central Chinese city of Wuhan has climbed to 59, and at least one patient had symptoms as early as mid-December.

Photo credit: SupChina illustration by Derek Zheng

The number of people infected with a “mysterious viral pneumonia” in the central Chinese city of Wuhan “has climbed to 59, with the first patient exhibiting symptoms as early as December 12,” reports Sixth Tone based on an announcement (in Chinese) from the city’s health commission.

The virus is not SARS, bird flu, or MERS, according to the announcement. A respiratory medicine specialist told the South China Morning Post that “based on the available information available, the virus was likely to be a type of coronavirus. This virus family includes the common cold and SARS, and the virus is likely to be contagious among humans.”

Hong Kong health authorities said that the number of suspected cases in the city had reached 21, with six more being reported between Sunday and noon on Monday,” according to the SCMP article linked above.

Which airports are screening passengers?

“The outbreak prompted authorities in Hong Kong, Macao, Taiwan, South Korea, Singapore and Malaysia to take emergency measures, including stricter health control at borders and temperature screenings on all flights from Wuhan,” reports Nikkei Asian Review (porous paywall). Thailand has enacted similar measures.