CHINA: Coronavirus Death Toll Hits Nine, Virus Could Mutate, Spread

A girl wears a face mask as she sits on a suitcase at the Beijing West Railway Station in Beijing, Tuesday, Jan. 21, 2020. A fourth person has died in an outbreak of a new coronavirus in China, authorities said Tuesday, as more places stepped up medical screening of travelers …
AP Photo/Mark Schiefelbein

Chinese health authorities warned the Wuhan coronavirus could mutate and spread further. The comments came as the government of China announced the death toll from the virus reached nine.

National Health Commission vice-minister Li Bin told reporters in a Wednesday (January 22) press conference that the Wuhan coronavirus, also known as 2019-nCoV, has a “possibility of viral mutation and further spread of the disease,” the AFP reported. The news agency reported the number of confirmed cases in China now stands at 440.

At least nine people are confirmed to have died from the virus, the vice-minister reported. He did not say where the new deaths occurred.

In the United States, a man traveling from China became the first person to be diagnosed with the potentially deadly virus at a Seattle hospital as having the virus, Breitbart News reported.

In response, officials with U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) implemented “enhanced health screening” for travelers arriving at key U.S. airports from Wuhan, China.

“U.S. Customs and Border Protection and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have implemented enhanced health screening for travelers entering the United States on direct or connecting flights from Wuhan, China due to an outbreak of pneumonia caused by a novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV),” CBP officials said in a written statement on Tuesday afternoon. The enhanced screening began initially at three U.S. airports (John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK), San Francisco International Airport (SFO) and Los Angeles International Airport (LAX)). It has since been expanded to Chicago O’Hare Airport (ORD) and Atlanta International Airport (ATL), The Hill reported.

Instances of the Wuhan coronavirus have also been confirmed in Thailand, Japan, and the Republic of Korea, the Center for Disease Control reported on Tuesday.

Members of the traveling public, especially those traveling to Wuhan, should exercise precautions to prevent the spread of the virus, CDC officials reported. Those precautions include many of the same steps that should be taken to prevent the spread of the common cold or flu. Those include:

  • Avoid contact with sick people.
  • Avoid animals (alive or dead), animal markets, and products that come from animals (such as uncooked meat).
  • Wash hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer if soap and water are not available.
  • Older travelers and those with underlying health issues may be at risk for more severe disease and should discuss travel to Wuhan with their healthcare provider.

CDC officials also ask that anyone who recently traveled to Wuhan and experience symptoms of a fever, cough, or breathing difficulties should:

  • Seek medical care right away. Before you go to a doctor’s office or emergency room, call ahead and tell them about your recent travel and your symptoms.
  • Avoid contact with others.
  • Not travel while sick.
  • Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or your sleeve (not your hands) when coughing or sneezing.
  • Wash hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer if soap and water are not available.

Bob Price serves as associate editor and senior political news contributor for the Breitbart Border team. He is an original member of the Breitbart Texas team. Follow him on Twitter @BobPriceBBTX and Facebook.

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