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Coronavirus Spreading, China Cities Put On Lock Down

01-23-2020
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Travelers pass through a health screening checkpoint at Wuhan Tianhe International Airport in Wuhan in southern China's Hubei province, Tuesday, Jan. 21, 2020. (AP Photo/Emily Wang)
Travelers pass through a health screening checkpoint at Wuhan Tianhe International Airport in Wuhan in southern China's Hubei province, Tuesday, Jan. 21, 2020. (AP Photo/Emily Wang)

China has shut down passenger travel in and out of three of its cities and has cancelled Chinese New Year's celebrations in Beijing in an effort to contain a deadly new virus. At least 17 people are dead and hundreds more have been sickened by a new type of coronavirus. 

In the United States, health officials are taking precautions to prevent the virus from spreading here.

China locked down travel in Wuhan – a city of 11 million people – as well as two other cities, trying to limit spread of the virus as millions are traveling to see family for Chinese New Year. The disease is spreading beyond China throughout Asia, but so far there is only one known case in the US.

The man arrived in Washington state a week ago and is under quarantine in a hospital near Seattle – a robot is monitoring his vitals.

Now, American health officials are screening passengers at five US airports.

Cases also have been reported in Thailand, Japan, South Korea and Taiwan. And now, the United Arab Emirates is the latest country to announce that it is screening passengers arriving in Dubai from China. 

The coronavirus is a respiratory illness, part of a family of viruses ranging from the common cold, to the more deadly SARS that killed 800 people in 2002 and 2003.

On CBN Newswatch, CBN News Health Reporter Lori Johnson said officials are concerned about possible virus mutation.

"Like all viruses, this one has the potential to mutate, to change and when that happens sometimes it can spread even faster and become more serious," she explained.

But the good news? Officials say the virus is not an airborne disease – it only spreads through close contact with those infected by the virus.

And for now, President Trump says there's no need to panic. "We think it's gonna be handled very well. We've already handled it very well. CDC's been terrific, very great professionals and I think China is in very good shape also. We're in great shape," the president insisted.

The World Health Organization met Wednesday, saying it needs more information before it would declare a global health emergency.

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