China has reported 139 new cases of a mysterious new virus dubbed the Coronavirus in just two days.
While the cases have centred on the capital of central China’s Hubei province, Wuhan, South Korea reported its first confirmed case today. It follows two cases in Thailand and one in Japan.
Health officials said that two people in Beijing’s Daxing district, who had travelled to Wuhan, had been treated for pneumonia linked to the virus over the weekend.
The total number of confirmed Coronavirus cases now exceeds 200, and three people have died from the illness. It has triggered memories of the Sars outbreak that killed 774 people in the early 2000s across Asia.
Scientists are unsure how this strain of Coronavirus is spreading but it is believed to have started in a market.
The infection first appeared in the city of Wuhan in December. Scientists believe the most likely primary source is an animal and people are being advised to avoid “unprotected” contact with live animals and to thoroughly cook meat and eggs.
Singapore and Hong Kong have screened air passengers from Wuhan, while US authorities have announced similar measures at airports in San Francisco, Los Angeles and New York.
UK experts said that the number of people infected with Coronavirus could be greater than official figures suggest, with estimates closer to 1,700.