Seventeen more people in central China have been diagnosed with the new form of viral pneumonia that has killed two patients.
In total, 62 cases of the novel coronavirus have been identified in the city of Wuhan, where the virus appears to have originated.
The Wuhan Municipal Health Commission reported the new cases in a statement on Sunday.
Nineteen of those individuals have been discharged from the hospital, while two men in their 60’s — one with severe pre-existing conditions — have died from the illness.
Eight remain in a critical condition.
At least six countries in Asia and three US airports have started screening incoming airline passengers from central China as millions of Chinese travel for Lunar New Year holidays.
The list includes Thailand and Japan, which have together reported three cases of the disease in people who had come from Wuhan.
In the most recently diagnosed group, ages ranged between 30 and 79, Wuhan’s health commission said. Their initial symptoms were fever and a cough.
The health commission’s statement did not say whether these patients had visited the Huanan Seafood Wholesale Market, which has been suspended after many infected individuals reported having either worked at or visited the venue.
Health authorities have maintained that there is no evidence that the virus transmits easily between humans.
The Chinese government is keen to avoid a repeat of SARS, or severe acute respiratory syndrome, another coronavirus that started in southern China in late 2002 and spread to more than two dozen countries, killing nearly 800 people.