Rome airport screens for deadly Wuhan virus

Fiumicino airport checks passengers arriving into Italy from Wuhan.

Rome's Fiumicino airport is screening passengers arriving from the central Chinese city and region of Wuhan following the outbreak of a new fatal virus in China, Italy's health ministry has confirmed.

Fiumicino has three direct flights from Wuhan, as well as many non-direct flights, with all passengers being checked for "suspected symptomatic cases and their eventual transfer in bio-containment" to Rome's Spallanzani Hospital which specialises in treating infectious diseases, said the health ministry.

The news follows the death of a fourth person in Wuhan on 21 January and comes as officials confirm that the mystery virus spreads by human-to-human transmission. 

More than 200 people are now affected by the new coronavirus strain which is believed to have originated at a seafood market in Wuhan and has since spread to Beijing and Shanghai, with four cases also reported in South Korea, Thailand and Japan.

The outbreak is causing alarm because the new virus is from the same family as the pathogen that causes SARS (Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome), which killed 650 people across mainland China and Hong Kong in 2002-2003.

There are fears that the spread of the virus could accelerate as the Chinese New Year travel rush begins, leading the World Health Organisation to convene an emergency summit on 22 January.

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Address Via dell' Aeroporto di Fiumicino, 00054 Fiumicino RM, Italy

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Rome airport screens for deadly Wuhan virus

Via dell' Aeroporto di Fiumicino, 00054 Fiumicino RM, Italy