However, Antoine Flahault, director of the Institute of Global Health at the University of Geneva, told AFP in an interview the fact that the virus seems milder in the majority of people is "paradoxically more worrying" as it allows people to travel further before their symptoms are detected. Train stations, airports, subways, ferries and buses will shut down, the state media agency reported Wednesday.
The disease is mainly transmitted from animals to humans, but scientists have ascertained that there is limited human-to-human transmission.
That study did not speculate about which animal could have been an "intermediate host", but a second study published Wednesday in the Journal of Medical Virology identifies snakes as the possible culprit.
"To search for (a) potential virus reservoir, we have carried out a comprehensive sequence analysis and comparison". World Health Organization also says an animal source appears most likely to be the primary source of the outbreak.
The researchers caution that their conclusions require "further validation by experimental studies in animal models". "There's no way for people to know if they have the virus or not".
Limiting transport will cut the chance of the virus reaching other cities in China and other countries around the world. The virus strain is believed to have emerged from illegally traded wildlife here at the market.
A virologist who helped to identify the source of the SARS virus almost two decades ago recently had some rather ominous things to say about the outbreak in Wuhan.
A board outside a China transport terminal.
China closed off a city of more than 11 million people Thursday in an unprecedented effort to try to stop the spread of a deadly new virus that has sickened hundreds and spread to other cities and countries in the Lunar New Year travel rush. At least 17 people had died by Wednesday - all in Hubei province, where Wuhan is located - and the number of infections had spiked to 571 on the Chinese mainland, with cases in dozens of provinces, including major cities.
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Chinese City Shuts Down Transport to Fight Coronavirus
The patients infected in China experienced mild symptoms and have been discharged from hospitals, the CDC said. He noted that banning entry into the US from those traveling from China could be a possibility.
What to know about the viral outbreak in China
The warning comes as millions of people across China are travelling within the country for the Lunar New Year week-long holiday. In more severe cases, infection can cause pneumonia , severe acute respiratory syndrome, kidney failure, and even death.
A patient is transferred by an ambulance to the Infectious Disease Centre in Hong Kong.
The coronavirus, whose symptoms include fever, coughing and shortness of breath, which can progress to pneumonia, evoked memories of the 2003 outbreak of severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) in China.
"There is an ongoing outbreak of coronavirus", stated the FCO. Surveillance in all the four airports in the state - Thiruvananthapuram, Kochi, Kozhikode and Kannur - have been stepped up, State Health Minister KK Shailaja said in a press release. North Korea has banned foreign tourists, a step it also took during the SARS outbreak and in recent years due to Ebola.
A number of countries, including the United Kingdom, are screening passengers who arrive from Wuhan, China.
There is evidence of respiratory transmission of the virus from patient to patient, and Chinese authorities have also said that 15 medical staff in the country have been infected, which they claim indicates loopholes in treatment methods.
Tedros also praised China's openness about the outbreak as "commendable".
The CDC has updated its travel health notice from a 1 to 2, which urges travelers to practice enhanced precautions when traveling in Wuhan, Pillai said.
"The decision about whether or not to declare a public health emergency of worldwide concern is one I take extremely seriously, and one I am only prepared to make with appropriate consideration of all the evidence", Tedros said.