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Coronavirus cases in US rises to 5

The US has five confirmed cases of the new pneumonia-like virus from China, health officials said Sunday.

Two new confirmed cases were reported Sunday - one in Los Angeles County in California and the other in Arizona.

All of the US patients had travelled to Wuhan, the Chinese city that is the centre of the outbreak.

The Los Angeles County Department of Public Health said Sunday the infected person presented themselves for care once they noticed that they were not feeling well and is currently receiving medical attention.

The person is a returning traveller from Wuhan City, China. The case came on the heels of confirmed cases in Orange County, California, Washington state and Chicago.

The Centers for Disease Control confirmed the Orange County case. The person was also a traveller from the Chinese city of Wuhan - the epicentre of the outbreak - and tested positive for the virus, the Orange County Health Care Agency announced late Saturday. The patient is in isolation at a hospital and in good condition.

The virus can cause fever, coughing, wheezing and pneumonia. It is a member of the coronavirus family that's a close cousin to the deadly SARS and MERS viruses that have caused outbreaks in the past.

The cases in California came on the heels of diagnoses in Washington state, on January 21, and Chicago, on January 24. Both patients - in Washington, a man in his 30s, and in Chicago, a woman in her 60s - had also travelled to China.

Dozens of people have died from the virus in China, which has issued massive travel bans in hard-hit sections of that country to try to stem spread of the virus, and the US Consulate in Wuhan announced Sunday that it would evacuate its personnel and some private citizens aboard a charter flight.

The CDC expects more Americans to be diagnosed with the newly discovered virus, which is believed to have an incubation period of about two weeks, as worldwide the number of confirmed cases nears 2,000. The CDC is screening passengers on direct and connecting flights from Wuhan at five major airports in Atlanta, Chicago, New York City, San Francisco and Los Angeles.

Guidance from the CDC advises that people who have had casual contact with the patient are at "minimal risk" for developing infection. There's no evidence that person-to-person transmission occurred in Orange County, and the risk of local transmission remains low, the release said. Further details about the case weren't released.

© AP 2020