Chinese authorities, who first alerted the world to the existence of the outbreak on December 31, have diagnosed more than 200 cases to date.
Zeng Guang, the chief epidemiologist at China's CDC, urged people in Wuhan to avoid leaving the city and said those intending to go there should avoid it if they can, according to The Washington Post.
"While human-to-human transmission appears limited, the situation continues to evolve", said state health officials in a press release today.
Health officials in the northwest USA state of Washington said a man who returned to Seattle from Wuhan last week is hospitalized in good condition with pneumonia.
On Tuesday, Messonnier said the CDC still believes "the risk [to Americans] remains low at this time". The United States has also announced its first case of the virus. "This is what happens when you have respiratory diseases that can present at first with no symptoms".
The CDC says the local man is a resident of Snohomish County in his 30s. The patient is now in good condition and clinically not ill, officials said. "A CDC team has been deployed to support the ongoing investigation in the state of Washington, including potentially tracing close contacts to determine if anyone else has become ill". People on flights from Wuhan are being screened at John F. Kennedy International in New York, San Francisco International, and Los Angeles International. The majority are in Wuhan, where the virus originated.
Chinese health authorities announced measures to combat the spread of the Sars-like virus as the related death toll reached nine with more than 400 people confirmed infected in 13 provinces and municipalities. Exported cases have been reported in Thailand, Japan, South Korea and Taiwan.
This week, China celebrates the Lunar New Year, the most important event in the Chinese calendar when hundreds of millions of people travel across the country to celebrate with family.
Employees use heat scanners to the detect body temperature of passengers arriving from China while they are still boarded. So far, official reports say four people have died and 219 others have been infected, including 198 in Wuhan, 14 in Guangdong, five in Beijing, and two in Shanghai.
But Zhong Nanshan, a renowned scientist at the National Health Commission who helped expose the scale of the SARS outbreak, said patients could contract the new virus without having visited the city. The National Institutes of Health are in the midst of developing a vaccine.
Officials have already developed a diagnostic test for the new virus. Ebola was carried by fruit bats, which spread it to other animals.
Dr. Anthony Fauci, the director of the U.S. Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said his organization is watching it very closely. Symptoms go away on their own in some cases. Most patients suffering from nCoV 2019 are still in the hospital and are not yet clear. Many patients in China who contracted the illness were able to recover and have since been sent home.
Signs of infection include respiratory symptoms, fever, cough, shortness of breath and breathing difficulties, largely similar to pneumonia.
Coronaviruses, Ebola and SARS are zoonotic, meaning they are transmitted between animals and people.
The virus seems to be adapting and mutating, according to the head of China's Disease Control Center, Gao Fu, who noted though that, so far, all its changes were in line with 'expectations'. This has scientists worrying that the coronavirus could be a new epidemic like the ones over the past few years such as SARS (severe acute respiratory syndrome), which had an outbreak in 2012 that caused over 400 deaths, and MERS-CoV (Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus), which killed almost 800 people during a 2003 outbreak.