A mysterious virus has killed six people in China as authorities say that almost 300 people across the country have been infected and the virus can be spread between humans. Authorities said Tuesday that six people in the city of Wuhan have now died from the virus, according to a report from Reuters.
Earlier it was reported that an 89-year-old man who lived in Wuhan, where the spread started, had become the fourth person to die, the Wuhan Municipal Health Commission said, Reuters reported.
The virus, called 2019-nCoV, was first detected in the city of Wuhan, central China, at the end of 2018. Authorities have since confirmed that a few cases have spread to elsewhere in China, and that cases had also been detected away from mainland China: One in Japan, one in South Korea, one in Thailand, and on Tuesday, one was confirmed in Taiwan.
The virus is a coronavirus – which is one that infects the nose, throat, or sinuses – and has pneumonia-like symptoms. But the strain has never been seen by humans before, and remains mysterious as experts try and study it.
But authorities believe it originated in a meat and fish market in Wuhan.
The World Health Organization said it will hold a meeting on Wednesday to decide whether to declare “a public health emergency of international concern,” and what recommendations to make. It has previously declared such an emergency for swine flu and Ebola.
The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is screening incoming passengers from China at airports in New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco, as are health authorities in Hong Kong, Singapore, and Tokyo.