The virus first detected in the Chinese city of Wuhan can be spread by humans, officials have confirmed.
Chinese authorities are facing a monumental battle to contain the outbreak of a new virus that has so far infected more than 400 and killed nine. The respiratory virus had already spread to Thailand, Japan, South Korea, Taiwan, and has now been identified in the United States for the first time.
The fight to contain the virus is made more difficult by the fact that Lunar New Year celebrations commence in China over the coming days, the busiest travel period of the year.
It was initially thought that the virus couldn’t be spread through human to human contact, but researchers have since revised their opinion and now confidently state that transmission between humans is possible. One patient in China is thought to have infected 14 medical staff treating them.
Officials in Wuhan have announced a series of new measures to fight the spread of the virus, including the cancellation of all festivities relating to the Lunar New Year. Additionally tour operators face restrictions on their movements and police will be conducting checks on private vehicles to look for live animals, thought to be a likely source of the virus.
With hundreds of millions of Chinese expected to travel across the country in the coming days, many are questioning whether the restrictions will be effective. Whilst cases have appeared in other locations the vast majority have been contained to Wuhan, and the fact there is no restriction on residents leaving the city is cause for concern.