The Chinese city of Wuhan has witnessed an outbreak of an unknown kind of viral pneumonia, beginning earlier in January. Two deaths and over 41 cases of the infection have been reported. The outbreak was confirmed to be a new type of coronavirus.

Passengers travelling to the United States from the Chinese city of Wuhan will undergo health screenings for the new coronavirus, following the outbreak, the US Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said in a press release on Friday.

The health agency said that the new procedures will be implemented on all passengers arriving at the airports of San Francisco (SFO), New York (JFK), and Los Angeles (LAX), which receives the highest number of travelers from Wuhan.

“To further protect the health of the American public during the emergence of this novel coronavirus, CDC is beginning entry screening at three ports of entry. Investigations into this novel coronavirus are ongoing and we are monitoring and responding to this evolving situation,” said Martin Cetron, director of Global Migration and Quarantine at the CDC.

CDC will also deploy 100 additional staff members, in addition to those already employed at the three airports, to work at the facilities' quarantine stations. The agency said that it may adjust screening procedures and other response activities as additional information is gathered about the new virus.

Unknown Kind of Virus Outbreak in China

At the end of December 2019, health authorities in Wuhan, a city in the central Chinese province of Hubei, reported that 27 people had been infected with a pneumonia of an unknown kind during that month. On 3 January, local authorities confirmed that the number of infected people had reached 44.

Last week, preliminary laboratory tests revealed that the unknown pneumonia spreading in Wuhan is a new type of coronavirus. Tests also revealed that the new coronavirus can easily be transmitted between humans.

Two infection cases of the coronavirus were registered, one in Thailand and one in Japan, and both of the infected were reported to have come from Wuhan.

On 11 January, the first case of death at the hands of pneumonia caused by the mysterious new coronavirus was reported, and another death was reported Friday.

“As for the moment, 41 cases of infection with the new type of coronavirus have been registered, with 12 people having been released from hospitals. Five people remain in a critical condition, two people died, other people are in a stable condition,” Wuhan's Healthcare Department said in a Friday statement.