China confirms 139 new cases of deadly coronavirus

Henrietta Strickland
January 24, 2020

Most of the cases are in the central Chinese city of Wuhan, where the virus is believed to have originated late a year ago, though cases have now been found in at least seven other countries.

"We know that this virus can cause severe disease, and that it can kill, although for most people it causes milder symptoms", Ghebreyesus said.

The outbreak could not come at a worse time as the country gears up to celebrate the lunar New Year, a major national holiday. She arrived in South Korea from the Chinese city of Wuhan on Sunday. Chinese health authorities have not commented on the report.

How did the virus spread?

The World Health Organisation (WHO) said on Twitter Monday that "an animal source seems the most likely primary source" with "some limited human-to-human transmission occurring between close contacts". Kyodo News agency reported the man is Chinese. All of the illnesses were of people from Wuhan or who recently traveled there.

"Our commission will step up our guard during the Spring Festival, pay close attention to the development and change of the epidemic, and direct the implementation of prevention and control measures", the commission said, adding that it believes the outbreak can be controlled.

The open-ended lockdowns are unmatched in size, embracing more people than New York City, Los Angeles and Chicago put together.

Separately, several suspected infections have been reported in the eastern province of Zhejiang as well. Antibiotic makers Jiangsu Lianhuan Pharmaceutical Co., Shandong Lukang Pharmaceutical Co. and Shenzhen Neptunus Bioengineering Co. all rose by the 10% daily limit in early trading. Some people said they had cancelled their travel plans and were staying home for Lunar New Year. Chinese airlines and Macau casino operators were among the biggest losers on Monday, with Air China Ltd. sinking as much as 7.8% in Hong Kong. The Chinese government initially tried to hide the severity of the SARS epidemic, but its coverup was exposed by a high-ranking physician.

2019-nCoV is thought to be the seventh strain within the coronavirus class that can infect people.

Authorities in Thailand on Wednesday confirmed four cases, a Thai national and three Chinese visitors.

On Saturday the World Health Organization said the patient in Japan had travelled to Wuhan in alate December but did not visit the Hunan seafood market or any other live animal markets.

Health officials in Beijing's Daxing district meanwhile said two people who had travelled to Wuhan were treated for pneumonia linked to the virus. He is also in stable condition. A total of 575 of those cases and all of the deaths have been reported in China, with other cases reported in Japan, the Republic of Korea, Singapore, Thailand, the United States and Vietnam. The seafood market in the center of Wuhan seems to be connected with a number of those infected. Only 19 were cured and discharged from the hospital. Nine people were in critical condition and 35 more in serious condition. The patients range from 30 to 79 years old. Initial symptoms of the novel coronavirus include fever, cough, tightness of the chest and shortness of breath.

-With assistance from Ken Wang, Zoe Ma, Kelly Li and Jung Soo Maeng.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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