Coronavirus cases in China rise to 440 with nine dead

Coronavirus cases in China rise to 440 with nine dead
© getty

Nine people are dead in China as several Asian countries are struggling to blunt the spread of a newly identified coronavirus.

Deputy Director of the National Health Commission Li Bin told reporters Wednesday that the number of cases had risen to 440 and that all of the deaths had occurred in Hubei province, according to The Associated Press.

Dozens of cases have been identified in other major Chinese cities, including Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou. Five cases have also been identified outside the country, in Japan, Thailand, South Korea, Taiwan and the United States.

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A man in Washington state was the first person in the U.S. to have a confirmed case of the virus. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said Tuesday that the 30-year-old man had recently traveled from Wuhan, China, where the virus was first identified. 

He is in good condition and currently hospitalized "out of an abundance of caution" and for short-term monitoring, the CDC said. 

It is still unclear how the virus is spread between people. Symptoms include fever, cough and trouble breathing. 

To prevent the further spread of the illness, the CDC will screen passengers from Wuhan who are arriving at international airports in Atlanta and Chicago. Screenings began last week at international airports in New York, San Francisco and Los Angeles.

The virus is common in animals such as bats, cats and camels, according to the CDC. Coronaviruses from animals can spread to humans in rare instances that are known as spillover events.

The latest outbreak is believed to have started at a wet market in China where animals are sold in the open.