Medical staff members carry a patient into the Jinyintan hospital in Wuhan, China, on Saturday. AFP
China reported 17 new cases of the mysterious SARS-like virus on Sunday, including three in a severe condition, heightening fears ahead of China's Lunar New Year holiday when hundreds of millions of people move around the country.
The new coronavirus strain has caused alarm because of its connection to Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome, which killed nearly 650 people across mainland China and Hong Kong in 2002-2003.
Of the 17 new cases in the central city of Wuhan — believed to be the epicentre of the outbreak — three were described as "severe", of which two patients were too critical to be moved, authorities said.
Those infected range from 30 to 79 years old.
The virus has now infected 62 people in Wuhan, city authorities said, with eight in a severe condition, 19 cured and discharged from hospital, and the rest remaining in isolation receiving treatment.
Two people have died so far from the virus, including a 69-year-old man who died on Wednesday after the disease caused pulmonary tuberculosis and damaged multiple organ functions.
Authorities said they had begun "optimised" testing of pneumonia cases across the city to identify those infected, and would begin "detection work... towards suspected cases in the city" as a next step, as well as carrying out "sampling tests".
Scientists with the MRC Centre for Global Infectious Disease Analysis at Imperial College in London warned in a paper published Friday that the number of cases in the city was likely to be closer to 1,700, much higher than the number officially identified.
Authorities said Sunday that some of the cases had "no history of contact" with the seafood market believed to be the centre of the outbreak.
No human-to-human transmission has been confirmed so far, but Wuhan's health commission has previously said the possibility "cannot be excluded".
Three cases have also been reported overseas -- two in Thailand and one in Japan.Agence France-Presse
Trying times like the ones we are going through, though unpleasant, is giving a new definition to our everyday existence. Dreadful are the headlines and the news bulletins.
Even as 288 persons in Kerala have been kept under medical observation in the wake of the coronavirus scare, state health Minister K.K. Shailaja asserted that there was no reason for any concern.
The deadly virus, which experts believe emanated from a wild animal market in the city of Wuhan last month, has triggered a desperate Chinese containment effort after spreading nationwide and to more than a dozen other countries.
The Coromandel Express, which runs from Kolkata to Chennai, derailed and fell on the opposite track, with many people still trapped, the reports said.
Sheikh Mohammed added in a tweet on Twitter: "We found its executive director at the service counters, receiving customers, speeding up procedures, and contributing to clearing transactions. The secret shopper assured us that providing the service did not exceed five minutes."
The first lady arrived in Cairo from Amman, where she attended the wedding of Crown Prince Hussein. She is travelling to Morocco on Saturday before heading to Portugal, the final stop of her tour, on Monday.