Four people dead as China confirms Wuhan coronavirus can be transmitted by humans 3 weeks ago

Four people dead as China confirms Wuhan coronavirus can be transmitted by humans

A fourth person has died in an outbreak of a new coronavirus in China which has infected more than 200 people.

Chinese authorities have confirmed the deadly virus, that has infected people in at least four countries, can be transmitted via human-to-human contact.

The virus has been dubbed Wuhan Virus after it originated at the seafood market in the city of Wuhan in central Hubei province.

At least four people have died so far, while cases have also been confirmed in Thailand, Japan and South Korea while Australia confirmed a man returning to the country from China is showing symptoms of the virus.

A Queensland Health spokesperson said the man had recently returned from the city of Wuhan. He is now recovering in his home while health officials await the results of tests to determine if he has contracted the new virus.

The respiratory illness, which causes a type of pneumonia, has raised memories of the Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (Sars) coronavirus which which spread from China to more than a dozen countries in 2002 and 2003 and killed nearly 800 people.

President Xi Jinping ordered "resolute efforts to curb the spread" of the virus Monday as the number of cases reported in the country rose to over 200.

"The recent outbreak of novel coronavirus pneumonia in Wuhan and other places must be taken seriously," he said.

"Party committees, governments and relevant departments at all levels should put people's lives and health first.

"They should ensure that the masses have a quiet, peaceful and joyous Spring Festival."

However, a UK study has suggested the number of contracted cases has been grossly underestimated by Chinese health officials.

The study by Imperial College London, suggests that an estimated 1,723 people were likely to have been infected by 12 January.

While the number in the study is only an estimate, it is based on a number of factors including the number of cases which have spread to other countries combined with the number of people using Wuhan International Airport and the time the virus has taken to incubate.