Alwaght- Officials confirm new virus that causes pneumonia has claimed lives of six people so far and can be spread by person-to-person contact.
The updated death toll was announced by Zhou Xianwang, the mayor of Wuhan, in central China, in an interview with state broadcaster CCTV on Tuesday
A senior health official investigating an outbreak of pneumonia in China stemming from a new coronavirus has said the disease can spread from person to person but can be halted with increased vigilance
Zhong Nanshan, the head of the National Health Commission, said there was no danger of a repeat of 2002's Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) epidemic that killed nearly 800 people across the world, as long as precautions were taken.
"It took only two weeks to identify the novel coronavirus," state news agency Xinhua quoted Zhong as saying late on Monday.
Earlier, Zhong acknowledged patients may have contracted the new virus without having visited the central city of Wuhan where the infection is thought to have originated in a seafood market.
"Currently, it can be said it is affirmative that there is the phenomenon of human-to-human transmission," he said in an interview with state broadcaster CCTV.
Meanwhile, the World Health Organization (WHO) will meet on Wednesday to consider declaring an international public health emergency as China confirmed the coronavirus spreads by human-to-human contact.
The virus has infected more than 300 people in China and spread to Japan, Thailand, and South Korea.
Tour agencies have been banned from taking groups out of Wuhan and the number of thermal monitors and screening areas in public spaces will be increased. Traffic police will also conduct spot checks on private vehicles coming in and out of the city to look for live poultry or wild animals, after the virus was linked to a seafood and live animal market, according to a report by state media outlet the People's Daily, citing Wuhan's Municipal Health Commission.