- Nine people have died, and 440 have been infected by a virus sweeping the country, according to China’s latest official figures.
- The update Wednesday morning local time added three deaths and almost 150 confirmed cases, suggesting the disease is spreading faster.
- It follows the announcement of the first confirmed case in the US: a man being treated in Washington state.
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The death toll from the deadly respiratory virus sweeping China jumped to nine on Wednesday, with 440 cases confirmed.
The China Health Commission released updated figures on Wednesday morning local time for the novel coronavirus, the name for the illness widely referred to as the Wuhan virus.
According to the Associated Press, the health commission’s deputy director, Li Bin, said that the figures were accurate as of midnight Tuesday.
All the deaths have been in Hubei, the province which contains Wuhan, he said.
It came not long after the first case of the disease was confirmed in the US; a male Washington state resident in his 30s who recently went to Wuhan to visit relatives.
The latest death toll indicates a further escalation of the disease. The death toll on Tuesday was six with 291 infections.
The first cases of the disease were reported in late December, and they are believed to have originated from a seafood market in Wuhan, a central Chinese city of some 11 million inhabitants.
Scientists initially hoped that the virus could only spread to human beings from animals. However, on Monday officials in China confirmed that it can spread from human to human.
Since December, it has spread, with confirmed cases in Japan, Thailand, South Korea, and the US.
China has imposed serious screening measures in the city, checking people at transport hubs and recommending that nobody enter or leave Wuhan unless necessary.
In the US, the CDC announced screening for all passengers arriving from Wuhan, to take place at airports in Los Angeles, San Francisco, New York City, Atlanta, and Chicago.
Officials from the World Health Organization are due to meet Wednesday in Geneva, Switzerland, to decide whether to declare the outbreak a global health emergency.