New virus: Fear of spread as new cases confirmed in China

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Woman wearing a surgical mask in public PHOTO/COURTESY

139 new cases of recently discovered coronavirus have been reported in China in the last 48 hours ahead of the travel boom that is typical of Lunar New Year celebrations in the country.

This brings the number of reported cases to a total of over 200 with three others already dead from the virus.

The virus which first appeared late last year in Wuhan, China becomes the 7th coronavirus known to infect humans after health officials traced it to a viral pneumonia outbreak. Officials are yet to determine exactly how the virus has been spreading especially since not much is known about its exact origin.

According to the World Health Organization, The virus now labelled, 2019-nCoV, most likely originated from an animal and is closely related to the Sars virus which killed 774 people in early 2000s across Asia.

Symptoms of the virus resemble those of a flu with respiratory symptoms like coughing, shortness of breath and breathing difficulties

Two cases have been confirmed outside China one in Japan and another in Thailand. It is not clear the clinical features of the virus or how the virus is transmitted, the source of the virus also remains unknown.

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