Beijing, Jan 22: At least nine people have died and more than 440 infected from a new pneumonia-like virus -- Corona -- that has recently originated in China, media reported on Wednesday.
According to Xinhua News Agency, the vice minister of China's National Health Commission Li Bin, at the first state-level news conference since the outbreak, said that 440 people in 13 Chinese provinces are now infected with the new Corona virus on Tuesday. Li told a press conference that nine deaths resulted from the aforementioned cases, all of them in Hubei Province, central China, noting that 149 confirmed cases had been reported. President Xi Jinping urged resolute efforts on Monday to contain the spread of pneumonia cases caused by a new strain of coronavirus as cases of the contagion. All-out efforts must be made in the prevention and control of the contagion, Xi said, as he called for closer attention to related work. Given massive population flows during the upcoming holiday of Chinese New Year, which falls on Jan 25, it is an urgent task to properly prevent and control the disease, Xi said.
Cases have appeared in Japan, South Korea, Thailand and Taiwan. Several Asian countries and the United States imposed airport controls for passengers arriving from the Chinese city of Wuhan, which has 11 million people, and is the source of the epidemic. On Tuesday, the US National Institutes of Health (NIH) announced that it had started working on the development of a vaccine that could cure the new coronavirus strain. The World Health Organization panel will meet in Geneva to determine whether to declare the outbreak "a public health emergency of international concern." (UNI)