Second person dies from mystery virus in China

S Korea confirms first case of SARS-like virus from China

S Korea confirms first case of SARS-like virus from China

A 35-year-old Chinese woman who flew in from Wuhan, the apparent epicentre of the outbreak, was confirmed to have the new coronavirus strain, the Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (KCDC) said.

The Wuhan Municipal Health Commission said in a statement that 136 new cases of coronavirus had been discovered in the city on Saturday and Sunday.

Chinese authorities have reported 139 new cases in Wuhan in last two days, taking the total number of confirmed cases in there to 198.

The market has been temporarily closed and is being disinfected.

Two people have died so far from the virus, including a 69-year-old man on Wednesday after the disease caused pulmonary tuberculosis and damaged multiple organ functions.

Among the 763 people who have had close contact with the infected and were placed under observation, 681 have been discharged, according to the commission, which added that no cases have been detected among them so far.

Two other cases have been detected - in Thailand and Japan - with health managers in both countries saying the patients had visited Wuhan prior to their hospitalisations.

The new virus belongs to the same family of coronaviruses that causes Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS), which killed almost 800 people globally during a 2002/03 outbreak that also started in China.

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Not enough was known to "draw definitive conclusions about how it is transmitted", a statement added.

The World Health Organization (WHO) has said the virus could spread and warned hospitals against it.

The Wuhan health commission said one man who had been diagnosed worked at Huanan Seafood Wholesale Market, but his wife, who also had the virus, reported "no history of exposure" at the facility.

China reported 17 new cases of the mysterious SARS-like virus on Sunday, including three people in serious condition, heightening fears ahead of China's Lunar New Year holiday when hundreds of millions of people move around the country.

The woman told the South Korean authorities she had not visited the market, nor had she knowingly come into contact with infected patients in Wuhan.

Although there has been no official announcement of screening measures on the mainland, Wuhan deputy mayor Chen Xiexin said on state broadcaster CCTV that infrared thermometers had been installed at airports, railway stations and coach stations across the city.

After the second death was reported, online discussion spread in China over the severity of the Wuhan coronavirus - and how much information the government is hiding from the public.

Authorities said they had begun "optimised" testing of pneumonia cases across the city to identify those infected, and would begin "detection work. towards suspected cases in the city" as a next step, as well as carrying out "sampling tests". "They all have Wuhan pneumonia cases but (in China) we don't have any infections outside of Wuhan - is that scientific?"

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