Cases of new viral respiratory illness rise sharply in China
January 22, 2020 - Chinese health authorities have urged people in the city of Wuhan to avoid crowds and public gatherings, after warning that a new viral illness that has infected more than 400 people and killed at least nine could spread further.
The appeal came as World Health Organization experts were meeting to determine whether the outbreak should be declared a global emergency.
The number of new cases has risen sharply in China, the centre of the outbreak. There were 440 confirmed cases as of midnight Tuesday in 13 jurisdictions, said Li Bin, deputy director of the National Health Commission. Nine people have died, all in Hubei province, since the outbreak emerged in its provincial capital of Wuhan late last month.
“There has already been human-to-human transmission and infection of medical workers,” Li said at a news conference with health experts. “Evidence has shown that the disease has been transmitted through the respiratory tract and there is the possibility of viral mutation.”
Authorities in Thailand on Wednesday confirmed four cases, a Thai national and three Chinese visitors. Japan, South Korea, the United States and Taiwan have all reported one case each. All of the illnesses were of people from Wuhan or who recently travelled there.
EDITOR’S NOTE: The number of cases reported is changing rapidly at the moment. The data reported by the Associated Press (the source quoted below this story) came from the National Health Commission in China. The data reported by the WHO is currently lagging behind.
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