A team of experts from the Chinese government confirmed the transmission between humans of a new coronavirus, the team leader said Monday, a development that increases the chances of it spreading faster and more widely.
Zhong Nanshan, a respiratory health expert, said family members infected two people in Guangdong Province in southern China, according to the official press. Some medical workers also tested positive for the virus, the China Daily newspaper reported.
The announcement of the night crowned a day in which the authorities announced a sharp increase in the number of confirmed cases, to more than 200, and in which the Chinese president asked the government to take all possible measures to combat the outbreak.RELATED
"The recent outbreak of pneumonia due to the new coronavirus in Wuhan and elsewhere must be taken seriously," President Xi Jinping said in his first public statement about the crisis. "The relevant party, government and department committees at all levels must put people's lives and health first."
The official CCTV broadcaster reported Xi's comments on its main news at 7 p.m.
In Geneva, the World Health Organization announced that it would convene the Emergency Committee for a meeting on Wednesday to determine whether the outbreaks justify declaring a global health crisis.
Such statements are usually made for epidemics of severe diseases that threaten to cross borders and require a coordinated international response. Global emergencies for crises have been declared that include the current Ebola outbreak in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, the Zika virus emergence in America in 2016 and the Ebola outbreak in West Africa in 2014.