Senior health officials have confirmed that the fourth patient that contracted the SARS-like infection known as the Coronavirus has passed on at the Wuhan Municipal Health Commission on Tuesday.
The 89-year-old man, who had underlying health diseases including coronary heart disease, developed symptoms on January 13 and was admitted to the hospital five days later, it added.
According to a senior health official investigating the outbreak of pneumonia in China stemming from a new coronavirus, the disease can spread from person to person but can be halted with increased vigilance, as authorities confirmed the fourth death from the infection.
Zhong Nanshan, the head of the National Health Commission, said there was no danger of a repeat of 2002’s Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) epidemic that killed nearly 800 people across the world, as long as precautions were taken.
“It took only two weeks to identify the novel coronavirus,” state news agency Xinhua quoted Zhong as saying late on Monday.
“The outbreak could perhaps not have come at a worse time,” said Al Jazeera’s Katrina Wu, who is in Beijing.
“This is the peak travel season in China. The government has always boasted that during the Lunar New Year you see two to three billion trips being made across the country and Wuhan is not a small city; it’s about 11 million people who will be travelling not only in China, but overseas. It’s a major transport hub.”
Meanwhile, the WHO, which is due to hold an emergency meeting on the outbreak on Wednesday, has said an animal source appeared most likely to be the primary origin of the Wuhan outbreak
SARS originated in southern China in 2002 and spread to 26 countries across the world over the following months, infecting more than 8,000 people before it was brought under control, according to the World Health Organization (WHO).
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