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New pneumonia-type virus can cause infection among humans, says expert

By Wang Xiaodong | chinadaily.com.cn | Updated: 2020-01-20 22:57

The latest evidence proves an outbreak of a new, pneumonia-type virus in Wuhan, in China's central Hubei province, is spreading from human-to-human, says Zhong Nanshan, head of a high-level expert team organized by National Health Commission.

"It was confirmed that two cases in Guangdong province arose from human-to-human transmission," he said during a news conference on Monday.

The two patients had not been to Wuhan, where the outbreak started, but fell sick after family members recently returned from the city, he said.

In addition, some medical workers have also tested positive for the virus, which proves the infectiousness of the virus, said Zhong, who is a member of the Chinese Academy of Engineering, and a prominent expert in respiratory diseases.

However, the pneumonia outbreak in Wuhan will not evolve into an outbreak on the same massive scale as the SARS outbreak 17 years ago, he said.

"We identified the new coronavirus just two weeks after the outbreak was reported, and we have very good virus-monitoring and quarantine measures," Zhong said. "I believe the outbreak will not cause the same impact on society and the economy as SARS did 17 years ago."

However, he said, the number of cases of the new virus is likely to continue to rise during the Spring Festival holiday, which starts late this week, due to the large number of people moving around the nation.

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