The number of people infected by a mystery SARS-like virus that has killed two people in China is likely hundreds more than officially reported, researchers have said on Friday.
The news comes as Chinese health authorities said on Saturday that they have discovered four more cases of pneumonia following an outbreak of what is believed to be a new coronavirus strain.
The four individuals were diagnosed with pneumonia on Thursday and are in stable condition, the Wuhan Municipal Health Commission said in a statement published shortly after midnight. Saturday's statement marked the first confirmation.
Chinese authorities previously said that the virus had hit at least 41 people in the country, with the outbreak centred around a seafood market in the central city of Wuhan.
But a paper published on Friday by scientists with the MRC Centre for Global Infectious Disease Analysis at Imperial College in London said the number of those affected in the city was likely to be well over a thousand.
The scientists at the centre - which advises bodies including the World Health Organization - said they estimated a "total of 1,723 cases" in Wuhan would have been infected as of January 12.
The researchers took the number of cases reported outside China so far - two in Thailand and one in Japan - to infer how many were likely infected in the city, based on international flight traffic data from Wuhan's airport.
Source: Al Jazeera