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Wuhan coronavirus takes fourth life, human-to-human transmission confirmed

Jan 21. 2020
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By The Nation

A fourth person has died from the outbreak of a new coronavirus strain in Wuhan, in China, local health authorities said on Tuesday (January 21).

The victim, an 89-year-old man, fell ill on January 13 and was admitted to hospital with breathing difficulties five days later, the Wuhan Municipal Health Commission said in a statement. He died on January 19.

The Wuhan Municipal Health Commission said in a separate statement that 15 medical workers in the city had been diagnosed with pneumonia with one other suspected case. Of the infected staff, one was in critical condition.

China’s National Health Commission has confirmed human-to-human transmission of a mysterious coronavirus that has spread nationwide with the danger of a major outbreak as millions begin travelling for lunar new year celebrations both domestic and international.

Zhong Nanshan, a respiratory expert and head of the health commission team investigating the outbreak, confirmed on Monday that two cases of infection in China’s Guangdong province had been caused by human-to-human transmission and medical staff had been infected.

China has reported to the World Health Organsation (WHO) 139 new cases of the novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) in Wuhan, Beijing and Shenzhen since Sunday. This is the result of increased inspection and testing for the 2019-nCoV among people sick with respiratory illnesses.

The WHO has said an animal source was “the most likely primary source” of the outbreak, with “some limited human-to-human transmission occurring between close contacts”. Researchers worry the number of infections has been severely underestimated.

WHO has urged countries to continue preparedness activities for 2019-nCoV, and continue sharing information. Speedy information sharing has already had a positive impact on the response.

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