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China virus deaths rise to 17, heightening global alarm

China virus deaths rise to 17, heightening global alarm
January 22, 2020
BEIJING/SHANGHAI (Reuters) - Deaths from China’s new flu-like virus rose to 17 on Wednesday with more than 470 confirmed cases, heightening global fears of contagion from an infection suspected to have come from animals. The previously unknown and contagious coronavirus strain emerged from the central city of Wuhan, with cases now detected as far away as the United States. Officials believe the origin to be a market where wildlife is traded illegally. Contrasting with its secrecy over the 2002-03 Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) that killed nearly 800 people, China has this time given regular updates to try and head off panic as millions travel at home and abroad for the Lunar New Year. “The rise in the mobility of the public has objectively increased the risk of the epidemic spreading,” National Health Commission vice-minister Li Bin acknowledged.
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