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Most read in 2020

Asia on alert over mysterious virus outbreak in China

Authorities step up airport screenings as illness triggers reminder of SARS

A man wearing a mask uses a smartphone at Sultan Syarif Kasim II airport in Pekanbaru, Indonesia. The outbreak of a mysterious illness in China has put Asian airports on alert.   © AP

HONG KONG -- Asian governments are stepping up precautionary measures to prevent an outbreak of a mysterious illness after Chinese health authorities reported 44 cases of a "viral pneumonia of unknown origin" amid concerns that the flu-like virus is linked to the highly contagious SARS virus that caused hundreds of deaths in Asia and elsewhere 17 years ago.

The outbreak prompted authorities in Hong Kong, Macao, Taiwan, South Korea, Singapore and Malaysia to take emergency measures, including stricter health control at borders and temperature screenings on all flights from Wuhan, in China's central Hubei Province, where the outbreak originated. Chinese officials said on Friday that 11 patients remained in critical condition with respiratory tract infection symptoms, including fever and breathing difficulty.

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