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Fourth person dies as China confirms coronavirus can be transmitted by humans

Meanwhile, a man in Australia has been tested after showing symptoms of the virus.

Staff in biohazard suits hold a metal stretcher by the in-patient department of Wuhan Medical Treatment Centre
Staff in biohazard suits hold a metal stretcher by the in-patient department of Wuhan Medical Treatment Centre
Image: Dake Kang via PA Images

A FOURTH PERSON has died in an outbreak of a new coronavirus in China which has infected more than 200 people, authorities said.

The outbreak is believed to have started late last month among people connected to a seafood market in the eastern Chinese city of Wuhan, where all four fatalities have been.

State media did not provide any details on the latest victim, nor was it clear if the latest death was a new case or one already diagnosed.

Increased control measures have been enforced at many places, with epidemiologists still uncertain of the outbreak’s nature and mode of transmission.

The country is entering its busiest travel period due the Lunar New Year, which sees many people travelling back to their home town or village.

Health authorities confirmed last night that some cases had been transmitted person-to-person, a development that means the illness could spread faster and more widely.

Countries including Japan, Australia and the US have adopted screening measures for those arriving from China due to concerns about a global outbreak like that caused by severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS), which spread from China to more than a dozen countries in 2002 and 2003 and killed nearly 800 people.

Health officials in Australia have confirmed that a man showing symptoms of the virus after visiting China is being held in isolation at his home, the country’s first suspected case of the coronavirus. 

A Queensland Health spokesperson said man had recently returned from the city of Wuhan.

Queensland’s chief medical officer said he was recovering at home in the northeastern city of Brisbane, where health authorities were awaiting the results of tests to determine whether he had contracted the new virus.

With reporting by © – AFP 2020

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