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New virus cases in Arizona, California push U.S. total to five

The Associated Press

Santa Ana, Calif. – The U.S. has five confirmed cases of the new virus from China, all of whom traveled to the city that is the center of the outbreak, health officials said Sunday.

Two new cases were reported Sunday – one in Los Angeles County in California and the other in Maricopa County, Arizona. The others were a patient in Orange County, California, who was in isolation at a hospital and in good condition; a man in his 30s in Washington state; and a woman in her 60s from Chicago.

The virus can cause fever, coughing, wheezing and pneumonia. It is a member of the coronavirus family that’s a close cousin to the deadly SARS and MERS viruses that have caused outbreaks in the past.

People wearing face masks ride a subway train in Beijing, Sunday, Jan. 26, 2020.

Dozens of people have died from the virus in China, which has issued massive travel bans in hard-hit sections of that country to try to stem spread of the virus. The U.S. consulate in Wuhan announced Sunday that it would evacuate its personnel and some private citizens aboard a charter flight.

The CDC expects more Americans to be diagnosed with the newly discovered virus, which is believed to have an incubation period of about two weeks, as worldwide the number of confirmed cases nears 2,000. The CDC is screening passengers on direct and connecting flights from Wuhan at five major airports in Atlanta, Chicago, New York City, San Francisco and Los Angeles.

Guidance from the CDC advises that people who have had casual contact with the patient are at “minimal risk” for developing infection.

What's new today

►Singapore and South Korea each reported one new case Sunday, while Thailand reported three new cases.

►The U.S. said it was chartering a plane to fly out its consulate staff and some civilians from the city. France said it was preparing a similar evacuation, possibly by bus. Japan said it too was arranging an evacuation flight.

►China’s health minister said the country was entering a “crucial stage” as “it seems like the ability of the virus to spread is getting stronger.”

►Chinese authorities announced a temporary ban on the trade of wild animals, saying they will “severely investigate and punish” violators.

►Beijing said it would delay the start of classes after the Lunar New Year holiday ends later this week.

►Two of Hong Kong’s biggest attractions, Hong Kong Disneyland and Ocean Park, announced they were closing for the time being.

►The International Tennis Federation has moved a regional Fed Cup qualifying event out of China amid travel restrictions caused by the outbreak. The Asian Football Confederation moved an Olympic qualifying event from China to Australia.