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AFP
January 22, 2020

China virus kills six

World

AFP
January 22, 2020

BEIJING: Asian countries on Tuesday ramped up measures to block the spread of a new virus as the death toll in China rose to six and the number of cases jumped to almost 300, raising concerns in the middle of a major holiday travel rush.

Nations across the Asia-Pacific region stepped up checks of passengers at airports to detect the SARS-like coronavirus, which first emerged in the central Chinese city of Wuhan.

Fears of a bigger outbreak rose after a prominent expert from China’s National Health Commission confirmed late Monday that the virus can be passed between people.

Authorities previously said there was no obvious evidence of person-to-person transmission and animals were suspected to be the source, as a seafood market where live animals were sold in Wuhan was identified as the centre of the outbreak.

But the World Health Organisation (WHO), which was concluding a fact-finding mission in Wuhan, was still being cautious, saying at a briefing in Geneva that “not enough is known to draw definitive conclusions about how it is transmitted”.