China is increasing measures meant to contain a coronavirus outbreak ahead of the Lunar New Year holidays that may increase the spread of the illness, Reuters reported.
The National Health Commission in Beijing encouraged local departments to work together on preventative measures and said on Sunday that it thinks the outbreak can be controlled.
“Our commission will step up our guard during the Spring Festival, pay close attention to the development and change of the epidemic, and direct the implementation of prevention and control measures,” the Chinese commission said, according to Reuters.
The moves come after an announcement of 17 new cases on Sunday, bringing the total of confirmed cases to 62. The cases are thought to have originated in the city of Wuhan, where two people have died from the virus.
Wuhan’s deputy mayor, Chen Yanxin, told state media that the city will increase oversight of big events and decrease the number of public gatherings, according to Reuters. City officials have also said infrared thermometers are being used at airports, railway stations and other terminals .
The virus was suspected to have started at the Huanan seafood market, although the World Health Organization said Sunday that some new cases do not appear to have originated there.
Concerns have increased with the approach of the Lunar New Year, when domestic and international travel is expected, according to the news service. The U.S. has announced it will be screening all people coming from Wuhan.
Coronavirus comes from the same family as Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) which killed almost 800 people around the world between 2002 and 2003 in an outbreak that began in China. Experts say the new virus may not be as deadly but not much is known about it, Reuters noted.
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