An animal source seems the most likely primary source of this novel 2019-nCoV outbreak, with some limited human-to-human transmission occurring between close contacts.
The World Health Organisation (WHO) in Geneva will convene an “emergency committee” meeting on Wednesday to determine whether the outbreak constitutes a public health emergency of international concern, and what recommendations should be made to manage it.
Researchers had assumed that the disease jumped from animals to humans, but a recent rise in cases pointed to person-to-person transmission as well.
The head of a Chinese government expert team yesterday said human-to-human transmission has been confirmed.
Team leader and respiratory expert Zhong Nanshan said two people in Guangdong province in southern China caught the virus from family members.
He said a number of medical workers had also caught it while treating patients.
The outbreak comes as the country enters its busiest travel period, when millions board trains and planes for the Lunar New Year (January 25) holidays.
“The recent outbreak of novel coronavirus pneumonia in Wuhan and other places must be taken seriously,” President Xi said, according to CCTV.
“Party committees, governments and relevant departments at all levels should put people’s lives and health first.”