Hundreds of millions of people in China are preparing to travel for Lunar New Year—and authorities are worried that an emerging virus could hitch a ride with them. Authorities in China have reported 139 new cases of the coronavirus, with a case reported in Beijing for the first time, the Guardian reports. Cases have also been reported in Zhejiang and Guangdong provinces, though the vast majority are in Wuhan, where the outbreak began. At least three patients have died from the respiratory illness. Japan and Thailand have also reported cases and on Monday, South Korea said it had confirmed a case in a woman who arrived in the country from Wuhan on Sunday, the New York Times reports. The woman, whose symptoms included a fever and muscle pains, was placed in quarantine.
At least six Asian countries and three airports in the US have started screening passengers from central China, the AP reports. Infrared thermometers have been installed at train stations and the airport in Wuhan to detect fevers. President Xi Jinping said Monday that it is "extremely crucial" to authorities to combat the outbreak and "put people's lives and health first." It's not clear how infectious the new coronavirus is, but the World Health Organization said Sunday that there is evidence of "limited human-to-human transmission," raising fears that it could be spread widely during the New Year travel period, CNN reports. (Read more coronavirus stories.)