China reports 4th death as new virus infection among humans confirmed

China reports 4th death as new virus infection among humans confirmed

China reports 4th death as new virus infection among humans confirmed

Authorities confirmed a total of 217 new cases of the virus in China as of 6 pm local time on Monday, with 198 of the cases from Wuhan, according to state media.

An emergency panel of the World Health Organization (WHO) will meet this week to discuss a new virus similar to SARS that has spread beyond China and that officials in Beijing have said it is contagious among humans. Chinese authorities said 291 people were infected with the virus as on Tuesday, AFP reported.

The city markets in Wuhan, which might have caused the outbreak, are shut down.

An 89-year-old man in the Chinese city of Wuhan had died from a new strain of coronavirus, which causes pneumonia, the BBC reported Tuesday. The death toll in China stood at three as of Monday afternoon.

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.

Thailand now has two cases, and South Korea and Japan each have one case.

Suspected cases have been reported in other parts of China, including Sichuan and Yunnan provinces.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has confirmed that the first United States case of Wuhan coronavirus has been diagnosed.

An Australian doctor ordered the tests when the man presented with flu-like symptoms after returning home from visiting the city of Wuhan.

The man, who in his 30s, had recently traveled to Wuhan, China, which is where the outbreak is believed to have begun, officials said.

On Saturday, January 18, the Wuhan Municipal Health Commission reported 136 newly identified cases of the viral pneumonia and one additional death. The majority of people said they had travelled from Wuhan.

"But more information and analysis", it added, "are needed on this new virus to understand the full extent of human-to-human transmission and other important details". People should also ensure all meat is properly cooked before consumption and avoiding unnecessary contact with live animals, according to Kerkhove.

Airports in Singapore, Hong Kong and the Japanese capital Tokyo have been screening air passengers from Wuhan, and USA authorities last week announced similar measures at three major airports in San Francisco, Los Angeles and NY.

Health officials are urging caution but say there is no reason to panic.

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