China reports 1st death from new type of coronavirus

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The request comes two days after the Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (KCDC) reported the country's first suspected case of the illness that has caused alarm in China for weeks.

The commission added that no new cases had been detected since January 3.

"Once we get the genetic information, we should be able to conduct our own checks on the patient who is showing symptoms", the KCDC said.

The Wuhan health authority in its statement also urged the public to take more precautions against infectious diseases, and said it was pushing ahead with tests to diagnose the pathogen and as of Friday had completed nucleic acid tests.

The episode has caused alarm due to the spectre of SARS, or Sudden Acute Respiratory Syndrome, which in 2002-2003 killed 349 people in mainland China and another 299 in Hong Kong, whose economy was hit hard by the epidemic's devastating impact on tourism.

Numerous patients had worked at a seafood market where wild animals such as pheasants and snakes, as well as rabbit organs, had also been sold.

"The emergence of the epidemic may cause panic among people, especially in areas where people are concentrated during the Spring Festival travel period", the ministry's chief engineer, Wang Yang, told reporters at a news conference Thursday. Another coronavirus has been linked to MERS, or Middle East respiratory syndrome, that has killed 851 people and sickened almost 2,500 since it was first appeared in 2012. Authorities have closed the seafood market.

The health authorities said they have been monitoring 739 contacts of people who became sick, including 419 health workers, but none of them appear to have contracted the virus. Some transmit easily from person to person, while others don't.

Human cases of avian influenza have recently been reported in China, and historically there have been more cases at this time of year. The WHO has said that "from the now available information, preliminary investigation suggests that there is no significant human-to-human transmission".

Coronaviruses are a specific family of viruses, with some of them causing less-severe damage, such as the common cold, and others causing respiratory and intestinal diseases. The sequence was released by a group of experts from Chinese and Australian institutions. Both of those outbreaks began with the virus jumping from animals to humans, and accelerated by spreading among people.

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