A high-level expert team of China’s National Health Commission confirmed people-to-people transmission of the novel coronavirus and infection of medical staff at a press conference in Beijing on Monday.
China also said that scientists have completed the whole genome sequencing of the novel corona virus.
Fifteen medical workers in central China’s Wuhan City have been diagnosed with pneumonia caused by the novel corona virus, plus one suspected case, the municipal health commission reported early Tuesday morning.
One of the 16 patients is in critical condition while the rest are in stable condition.
The World Health Organisation panel will meet in Geneva on Wenesday to determine whether to declare the outbreak “a public health emergency of international concern” — a rare designation only used for the gravest epidemics.
The new corona virus strain, first discovered in the central city of Wuhan, has caused alarm because of its connection to Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome, which killed nearly 650 people across mainland China and Hong Kong in 2002-2003.
The total number of people diagnosed with the new virus has risen to 218.
Meanwhile, President Xi Jinping has said that safeguarding people’s lives should be given “top priority” and that the spread of the epidemic “should be resolutely contained.”
While, some scientists believe that a seafood market in Wuhan is the centre of the outbreak, some other say patients could contract the new virus without having visited the city.