The head of a Chinese government team of experts said Monday that human-to-human transmission has been confirmed in the outbreak of a mysterious new virus, which could cause it to spread more quickly and widely.
The announcement came after China reported 139 new cases of pneumonia and three deaths over the weekend caused by the coronavirus strain outbreak, which originated in the Chinese city of Wuhan last month. Two people in Guangdong province in southern China caught the disease from family members who had recently traveled to Wuhan, said Zhang Nanshan, a team leader and respiratory expert. Five people in Beijing have reportedly been diagnosed with the virus and a total of seven suspected cases have been detected in other parts of the country.
Some medical workers have tested positive for the virus, according to the National Health Commission task force. The outbreak comes ahead of the country’s busiest travel period, when hundreds of millions of people are expected to travel for the Chinese New Year holiday.