- China’s latest official figures indicate that nine people have died and 440 have been infected in the country by a new virus.
- The update Wednesday morning local time added three deaths and almost 150 confirmed cases.
- It follows the announcement of the first confirmed case in the US: a man being treated in Washington state.
- Visit Business Insider’s home page for more stories.
The death toll from the deadly respiratory virus sweeping China jumped to nine on Wednesday, with 440 cases confirmed in the country.
The Chinese National Health Commission released updated figures Wednesday morning local time for the novel coronavirus, the name for the illness widely referred to as the Wuhan virus.
According to the Associated Press, the health commission’s deputy director, Li Bin, said the figures were accurate as of midnight Tuesday.
All the deaths have been in Hubei, the province that contains the city of Wuhan, he said.
The announcement came shortly after the first case of the disease was confirmed in the US; a male Washington state resident in his 30s who recently traveled to Wuhan to visit relatives.
The latest numbers marked an increase from six dead and 291 infected the day before.
The first cases of the disease were reported in late December, and they are believed to have originated from a seafood market in Wuhan, a central Chinese city of some 11 million inhabitants.
Scientists initially hoped the virus could spread to human beings only from animals. On Monday, however, officials in China said it could spread between humans.
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Since December, cases have been confirmed in Japan, Thailand, South Korea, and now the US.
China has imposed serious screening measures in Wuhan, checking people at transport hubs and recommending that nobody enter or leave the city unless necessary.
In the US, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced screening for all passengers arriving from Wuhan to take place at airports in Los Angeles, San Francisco, New York City, Atlanta, and Chicago.
Officials from the World Health Organization are due to meet Wednesday in Geneva to decide whether to declare the outbreak a global health emergency.
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