China identifies another four cases of coronavirus virus

Another four cases of coronavirus have been discovered in China Credit: Eugene Hoshiko/AP

Four more cases have been identified in a viral pneumonia outbreak in the central Chinese city Wuhan that has killed two people and prompted the United States and others to take precautionary measures.

The latest cases brings to 45 the number of people who have contracted the illness, the Wuhan Municipal Health Commission said on Saturday, with five people in a serious condition.

The cause of the pneumonia has been traced to a new type of coronavirus.

Airports have begun screening passengers arriving from Wuhan. Credit: Andy Wong/AP

Health authorities are keen to avoid a repeat of severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS), which started in southern China in late 2002 and spread to more than two dozen countries, killing nearly 800 people.

The US announced Friday it would begin screening passengers at three major airports arriving on flights from Wuhan.

At least a half-dozen countries in Asia also have started screening incoming airline passengers from central China.

The list includes Thailand and Japan, which both have reported cases of the disease in people who had come from Wuhan.