US to screen airline passengers from China for new illness

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NEW YORK (AP) — Three United States airports will screen passengers arriving from central China for a new virus that has sickened dozens, killed two and prompted worries about an international outbreak, health officials said Friday.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention officials say they will begin taking temperatures and asking about symptoms of passengers at three US airports who travelled 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 Kennedy airport and the Los Angeles and San Francisco airports.

The first direct flight was expected Friday night at Kennedy, and the next expected Saturday morning in San Francisco.

Doctors began seeing a new type of viral pneumonia — fever, cough, difficulty breathing — in people who worked at or visited a food market in the suburbs of Wuhan late last month.

More than 45 cases of the newly identified coronavirus have been confirmed in Asia, most of them in Wuhan, including two deaths — at least one involving a previous medical condition.

Officials have said it probably spread from animals to people but haven’t been able to rule out the possibility that it spreads from person to person.

So far, the risk to the American public is deemed to be low, but the CDC wants to be prepared and is taking precautions, the CDC’s Dr Martin Cetron said.

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