With new cases reported in China’s capital and other Asian countries, the number of people known to have been infected with the “coronavirus” jumped from 62 to over 200 on Monday. Over the weekend, a third patient in the region died of the pneumonia-like virus, bringing the death toll to three.
The World Health Organization has warned the virus is a new strain that has not been previously identified in humans. It belongs to the large family of coronaviruses that can cause illnesses ranging from the common cold to more severe diseases such as the Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS), which killed nearly 800 people globally during a 2002-2003 outbreak that also started in China. Initial symptoms of the virus include fever, cough, tightness of the chest and shortness of breath.
Authorities in Wuhan, where coronavirus appears to have originated, said 136 new cases have been confirmed in the city in central China. As of Monday, there were a total of 198 infected patients in Wuhan, bringing the worldwide total to more than 200. Experts say the recent spike in cases is largely due to more testing and looking for cases, not because of a faster spread of the virus.
South Korea has now reported its first case — a 35-year-old Chinese woman from Wuhan who tested positive for the disease one day after arriving at an airport in Seoul.