WHO to convene emergency meeting as China virus spreads

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The World Health Organisation is set to hold an emergency meeting to decide whether the deadly coronavirus is an international emergency.

China confirmed on Monday that the virus, which has infected more than 160 people across four countries, can be spread by human contact.

Zhong Nanshan, a respiratory expert for the Chinese government, said it could spread more quickly and widely than feared through human-to-human transmission.

Following the news, the World Health Organisation said crisis talks will be held in Geneva on Wednesday to discuss whether it constitutes as an international health emergency.

The head of a Chinese government expert team said Monday that human-to-human transmission has been confirmed in an outbreak of a new coronavirus.

Euronews reports that state media said that team leader Zhong Nanshan, a respiratory expert, said two people in Guangdong province in southern China caught the disease from family members, state media said.

The National Health Commission task force also found that some medical workers have tested positive for the virus, the English-language China Daily newspaper said.

Human-to-human transmission could make the virus spread more quickly and widely. The outbreak is believed to have started from people who picked it up at a fresh food market in the city of Wuhan in central China. Zhong said the two people in Guangdong had not been to Wuhan but family members had returned from the city, the China Daily said.

Euronews / China Daily / CNN