Wuhan coronavirus kills 6, infects more than 300 in China
Updated: 2020-01-22 07:12:51 KST
The outbreak of the so-called 'Wuhan coronavirus' has now killed six people and left more than 300 people sick in China, as health officials there scramble for ways to prevent the virus spreading even further.
The coronavirus, which causes a form of pneumonia, is thought to have originated in late December at a wholesale seafood market in the city of Wuhan.
Health officials first believed the virus could only be spread through animals, but the World Health Organization now says it can be spread between humans, after 15 medical staff became infected.
Officials say human-to-human infection is possible through close contact, and they are advising people to avoid close contact with anyone with cold or flu-like symptoms.
With the outbreak, Wuhan has announced a series of new measures, including the cancellation of upcoming Lunar New Year celebrations, which had been expected to attract hundreds of thousands of people.
Travel agencies have also been ordered to ban group tours in and out of Wuhan,.. and the number of thermal monitors and screening areas in public spaces will be increased.
The latest measures come as Chinese President Xi Jinping has ordered "resolute efforts to curb the spread" of the virus.
Beyond China, the outbreak has spread to South Korea, Thailand, Taiwan and Japan.
In another first on Tuesday, a person in the U.S. was confirmed to have the virus.
A man in Washington State first experienced symptoms after returning from a trip to a region near Wuhan.
He was hospitalized last week with pneumonia, but was later confirmed to have the Wuhan coronavirus.
North Korea is also stepping up its preventive measures, as it has banned Chinese tourists from entering the country.
With the world on high alert, the WHO will meet on Wednesday to decide whether to declare the outbreak an international public health emergency.
Lee Seung-jae, Arirang News.