Health officials in Wuhan, China reported 139 new cases of a new mystery virus over the weekend, now rapidly spreading to other provinces and surrounding countries, reported CNN.
As of Monday morning, three people have died from the pneumonia-like illness, and globally there have been more than 200 reported cases, noted Reuters.
Beijing confirmed two cases of coronavirus Monday, while Guangdong health officials reported one case in Shenzhen – these are the first reports that the virus is quickly spreading from Wuhan, the epicenter.
On Sunday, the World Health Organization (WHO) said the virus originated from a seafood/meat market in Wuhan, has likely spread through human-to-human transmission.
“It is clear that there is at least some human-to-human transmission from the evidence we have, but we don’t have clear evidence that shows the virus has acquired the capacity to transmit among humans easily,” said Takeshi Kasai, the WHO’s regional director for the western pacific, in an interview with Bloomberg TV on Monday. “We need more information to analyze that.”
There are significant concerns about a broader regional outbreak, reports Sunday warned the virus was detected outside China – two in Thailand and one in Japan.
The South Korean Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (SKCDC) confirmed Monday that a 35-year-old woman arriving at Incheon International Airport from Wuhan tested positive for coronavirus.
“She was immediately separated for treatment in quarantine at a state-designated hospital,” the SKCDC said.
China’s National Health Commission confirmed Monday that the virus has occurred via human-to-human transmission. This has worried officials in the country and in surrounding countries ahead of the Lunar New Year holiday, in which millions of Chinese tourists are expected to travel across the region, could lead to a widespread outbreak of the virus.
More than 7 million Chinese traveled overseas last year during the holiday season.
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