A mysterious illness has claimed the life of a patient after an outbreak in the central Chinese city of Wuhan, according to the local health commission.
Investigation by experts into a viral pneumonia that has sickened dozens of people in China has identified the possible cause as a new type of coronavirus, state media has said.
The emergence of the virus is raising concerns as hundreds of millions of people are getting ready to travel during to the Chinese New Year holiday later this month.
About 41 people have been diagnosed with the coronavirus.
Seven people are still in critical condition, and two have been released from hospital, with no new infections detected for the last week, Wuhan’s health commission said.
According to the World Health Organisation, most of those with the illness are workers at or visitors to a particular market in Wuhan where fish and wild animals are sold.
Coronaviruses can infect animals and people, causing diseases ranging from the common cold to severe illnesses such as Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) and Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS).
The disease raised an alarm in places like Taiwan, Hong Kong, South Korea, Thailand, and the Philippines, where officials said they would set up quarantine zones or scan passengers from China for signs of the disease.
Symptoms include fever, difficulty breathing, and lung lesions.