Human-to-human transmission of Wuhan pneumonia virus confirmed before CNY amidst world's largest annual migration

The World Health Organisation is also calling for a meeting to discuss the infection.

Tanya Ong | January 21, 2020, 09:17 AM

In the latest development surrounding the Wuhan virus, China has confirmed that the coronavirus is contagious between humans.

Wuhan virus

The coronavirus strain, believed to be connected to Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS), originated in Wuhan.

On Jan. 11, China reported its first death from the virus.

Since then, a total of four people have been reported dead from the Wuhan outbreak.

Cases have also been reported elsewhere, in Bangkok, Japan, and more recently, South Korea.

CNA reported that the total number of people diagnosed with the new virus has risen to 218.

Within China, confirmed cases have been reported in Beijing, Shanghai and Guangdong.

CNY: Largest annual migration event

Zhong Nanshan, a scientist at China's National Health Commission, was quoted saying that patients could contract the virus without having visited Wuhan.

Zhong told Xinhua News that their team has confirmed that the virus is contagious between humans.

This confirmation comes right before Chinese New Year, the world's largest annual migration event.

Chinese New Year sees an estimated three billion trips made by people in China over 40 days from Jan. 10 to Feb. 18, according to Business Insider.

WHO to hold meeting

The World Health Organisation announced that a key emergency committee would meet this week to discuss the infections, according to CNA.

The meeting will determine if the outbreak should be declared as a "public health emergency of international concern", a category used for very severe epidemics.

In 2019, the Ebola outbreak in the Democratic Republic of the Congo was declared a Public Health Emergency of International Concern.

Top photo via Flickr (Jason Thompson), Wikipedia