A second person has died from the mystery virus in China amid fears the lethal outbreak may spread globally, officials have said.
The 69-year-old man died in the early hours of January 15 at Jinyintan Hospital in Wuhan city, where 41 patients have fallen ill since December.
Officials at Wuhan Municipal Health Commission said the man was admitted to hospital on December 31 with symptoms of the virus.
His health deteriorated on January 4 before he died, local media claims.
The news comes after Japan confirmed its first case of infection from the new virus – a man in his 30s from Tokyo who had recently visited Wuhan.
It was the second time the virus has been detected outside China, after the World Health Organization (WHO) confirmed a case in Thailand.
A second person has died from the mystery virus in Wuhan city, China
The virus has never been seen before and has not yet been named. Officials have described it as being ‘novel’.
Tests have so far shown it is a new type of coronavirus from the same family as the deadly SARS pathogen.
Forty-one cases have been contained in the Chinese city of Wuhan since December.
A seafood market in Wuhan’s suburbs, where several patients worked, was closed and investigated as a potential source of the strain.
The first identified case outside of the country in Thailand last week raised concerns the virus could cross borders.
The woman, a Chinese national who was on holiday in Thailand, triggered a step-up in surveillance at airports.
WHO has said the new virus could spread and has warned hospitals worldwide to prepare.
Although the virus was initially thought to be transmitted by animals, the WHO said there is now evidence of human-to-human transmission.
THE NEW CORONIVURS IN CHINA TIMELINE
December 31 2019: The WHO China Country Office was informed of cases of pneumonia of unknown cause detected in Wuhan City, Hubei Province of China. Around 44 suspected cases were reported in the month of December.
January 1 2020: A seafood market was closed for environmental sanitation and disinfection after being closely linked with the patients.
January 5 2020: Doctors ruled out severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) as being the cause of the virus, as well as bird flu, Middle East respiratory syndrome and adenovirus. Meanwhile, Hong Kong reported
January 9 2020: A preliminary investigation identified the respiratory disease as a new type of coronavirus, Chinese state media reported.
Officials at Wuhan Municipal Health Commission reported the outbreak’s first death on January 9, a 61-year-old man.
January 13 2020: A Chinese woman in Thailand was the first confirmed case of the mystery virus outside of China. The 61-year-old was quarantined on January 8, but has since returned home in a stable condition after having treatment, the Thai Health Ministry said.
January 14 2020: The WHO say there is some ‘limited’ human-to-human transmission of the virus. Two days previously, the UN agency said there was ‘no clear evidence of human to human transmission’.
January 16 2020: A man in Tokyo is confirmed to have tested positive for the disease after travelling to the Chinese city of Wuhan.