An outbreak of a pneumonia-like illness that started in the Chinese city of Wuhan has put health authorities on high alert around the world. It’s led cities to be cordoned off, caused airlines to cancel flights to and from China and has disrupted global supply chains.
The new coronavirus—named 2019-nCoV—is thought to have originated in the food market of the central China metropolis and has since infected more than 8,000 people. Deaths and cases are likely to rise until the outbreak is contained.
China first reported the outbreak on Dec. 30. Most of the deaths have been in Hubei province, where Wuhan is the capital. Chinese authorities have restricted some travel to try and stop the illness since Jan. 23 and China’s financial markets will remain closed until Monday, Feb. 3 after authorities extended the Lunar New Year holiday break by three days.
While Ebola kills half the people who get it and SARS killed 10%, the new coronavirus’ fatality rate appears to only be about 2%. Experts are worried that the virus’s mild symptoms will cause those who carry it to unsuspectingly transmit it too far and fast. A 10-year old boy was diagnosed with the coronavirus despite showing no symptoms.
In Wuhan, public transportation and ride-hailing services have been suspended, trains and flights from the city have been stopped and people have been told to leave only for essential reasons. Similar travel restrictions were announced in at least 16 other Chinese cities, impacting more than 48 million people.
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