"We've got one gentleman that we're following at the moment who has travelled to Wuhan and has developed a respiratory illness", Dr Young told reporters on Tuesday. As of this week, however, patients have been identified as having the virus in Beijing, Shanghai and Shenzhen, three of China's largest cities and busiest transport hubs. That's over triple the number of cases reported just two weeks ago.
The virus belongs to the same family of coronaviruses as Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS), which killed almost 800 people globally during a 2002/03 outbreak that also started in China. Like SARS, experts suspect that the new coronavirus leapt from animals at the market to humans, sparking the outbreak.
Coronaviruses are part of a family of viruses that range from the common cold to severe respiratory diseases, according to the CDC.
But, until this weekend, there were reasons to be optimistic that the new outbreak could be easily managed.
Experts in the United Kingdom told the BBC the number of people infected could still be far greater than official figures suggest, with estimates closer to 1,700.
Beijing's Daxing health commission confirmed two new cases of coronavirus, while Guangdong Province's health commission confirmed one case, marking the first instances of the illness spreading beyond Wuhan, the city where cases were first discovered. No medical staff had been infected, and there had been no sign of new cases since January 3. He ordered "resolute efforts" to stop the spread of the virus, indicating the level of concern in China's leadership.
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After being briefed by chief medical officer Brendan Murphy, Mr Morrison said Australia was "well prepared to respond to this situation and we will continue to monitor and take action where necessary". Zhong is leading a government-appointed expert panel on the outbreak. Cases have also been reported outside China, in South Korea, Thailand and Japan. He also said that, in one case, a single patient spread the virus to at least 14 medical staff members. He referred to such a patient as a "super-spreader", according to South China Morning Post, and called these patients key to controlling the outbreak. Millions are expected to travel during the holiday period.
The outbreak has spread to other cities including the capital Beijing and Shanghai. The total number of cases overall in China has climbed to 218, according to state-run media.
Hong Kong has reported many suspected cases, but none have been confirmed to be linked to the outbreak. At least 8,000 people became sick with SARS during the outbreak and almost 800 people died.
Australia has announced that it will step up security screenings at airports for people arriving from China, but citizens have been warned that there is still a lot to learn from the virus.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Friday it would begin screening passengers as they arrive at New York City's Kennedy airport and the Los Angeles and San Francisco airports. Symptoms of the virus include fever, cough and difficulty breathing and travelers found to be experiencing these symptoms at the airport may undergo an additional health assessment.