On Monday Chinese authorities reported that another person had died from the coronavirus identified in Wuhan, bringing the death count to three. They also reported infections in other cities in China for the first time.
The number of infections also jumped in Wuhan, the suspected source of the virus, which causes pneumonia-like symptoms. The new cases were being reported with China preparing for the Lunar New Year holidays, when hundreds of millions of people will be travelling across the country, raising concern about the spread of infections.
Wuhan health authorities reported that a patient had died on Saturday and said 136 new cases had been confirmed – 59 on Saturday and 77 on Sunday – taking the total number of confirmed cases in the city to 198.
Separately, China’s national health commission said that two people in Beijing and one in Shenzhen, neighbouring Hong Kong, had been confirmed as infected with the virus, the country’s first reported cases outside Wuhan. Suspected cases were also reported across China on Monday, with eight people under quarantine in Shenzhen and five in the coastal province of Zhejiang, which borders Shanghai.
The two infected people in Beijing had recently travelled to Wuhan, according to the Daxing district health committee. They were under quarantine in hospital and in a stable condition, The Beijing News reported.
People who had come into close contact with the two patients were under medical observation and had not had fever-like symptoms, the local health authority said.
The health authority in the southern province of Guangdong said its first case was a 66-year-old man living in Shenzhen. He had visited relatives in Wuhan at the end of last month and developed fever and fatigue on January 3. He went to a doctor in Shenzhen the following day, then was admitted to hospital, where he has been placed under quarantine, on January 11.
His condition was stable and the authority was monitoring people who had been in close contact with him, the authority said.
The Zhejiang health authority said that the five patients it had reported as showing symptoms had recently visited Wuhan.
The outbreak is “preventable and controllable”, the Chinese Centre for Disease Control and Prevention said on Saturday via its website and social media. It said that the new virus was not severe acute respiratory syndrome (Sars), which killed more than 700 people around the world in a 2003-03 outbreak that originated in China.
Although the virus has been identified, its source has yet to be found and its path fully mapped. China’s health authorities and the World Health Organisation have both said previously that they had found no evidence of human-to-human transmission but could not rule it out.