The head of a Chinese government expert team said Monday that human-to-human transmission has been confirmed in an outbreak of a new coronavirus, a development that raises the possibility that it could spread more quickly and widely, the AP reports. Team leader Zhong Nanshan, a respiratory expert, said two people in Guangdong province in southern China caught the virus from family members, state media said. Some medical workers have also tested positive for the virus, according to the China Daily newspaper. The late-night announcement capped a day in which authorities announced a sharp uptick in the number of confirmed cases to more than 200, and China's leader called on the government to take every possible step to combat the outbreak.
The new type of coronavirus appears to have originated in the central city of Wuhan, which has reported 198 cases and all four known fatalities. Cases have also been reported in at least three other provinces. Internationally, four cases of coronavirus have been confirmed among Chinese travelers in South Korea, Japan, and Thailand. Concerned about a global outbreak similar to SARS, a different coronavirus that spread from China to more than a dozen countries in 2002-2003, numerous nations have adopted screening measures for travelers arriving from China, especially those from Wuhan. In Geneva, the World Health Organization will convene an Emergency Committee meeting on Wednesday to determine whether the outbreak warrants being declared a global health crisis.
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