China Says One Person Dead in Outbreak of Newly Discovered Virus

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The mysterious illness has infected 60 people in the Chinese city of Wuhan since December.

The clinical signs and symptoms reported are mainly fever, with a few cases having difficulty in breathing, and chest radiographs showing invasive pneumonic infiltrates in both lungs.

Chinese health officials have moved to shut down a number of open air markets and other public meeting places identified as epicenters for the virus, fearing they would aid in spreading it to other parts of the country.

Patient tested positive for the novel coronavirus linked to the outbreak in Wuhan.

The outbreak reportedly occurred from the local Huanan Seafood Wholesale Market, which was closed down on January 1.

But multiple restaurants sharing the same building were open and serving customers early Sunday morning.

One of them threatened to track down AFP reporters for filming a confrontation between the guards and an elderly man who wanted to enter the market.

The same guard said merchants had been allowed to enter the facility to check on their stalls, accompanied by security staff.

The World Health Organization (WHO) said Thursday that a newly emerging member of the family of viruses that caused the deadly Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) and Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) outbreaks, could be the cause of the present outbreak.

The Wuhan Municipal Health Commission said in a separate statement late on Sunday that 4 additional patients have been released and that no new cases have been discovered as of Saturday.

University of Hong Kong disease expert Yuen Kwok-yung was quoted by the city's official news agency as saying that the genetic makeup of the novel coronavirus was 80% similar to SARS as it had been found in bats, civet cats and humans.

Yuen said that it was unclear whether the virus could further change to become more lethal, as the SARS virus had, but that Hong Kong had a robust system for detecting more severe problems among patients.

Two of these patients have been discharged, another seven are in serious condition and one has died. All patients in Wuhan have received medical services. As of now, no reports claim a single direct transmission between humans.

"If the illness looks for us, there's nothing we can do", she said.

Researchers from other cities have been invited to Wuhan to exchange information.



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