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A mysterious respiratory virus that has caused six deaths in China and infected hundreds of others can be spread from person to person, officials confirmed.

Health care workers who’ve contracted the coronavirus indicate that it is more easily transmitted than previously thought, bringing the outbreak to a higher risk level and stoking alarm of a global pandemic.

“The risk from this virus causing pandemonium has increased because it is spreading from different countries, and we are now seeing that it can be more easily transmitted from person to person,” said Sanjaya Senanayake, associate professor of medicine at the Australian National University.

In comparison with SARS, “the one good factor, I guess, at the moment seems to be the low mortality rate,” he said.

As of Tuesday, China confirmed that the number of confirmed cases had risen to 291.

WI Guest Author

This correspondent is a guest contributor to The Washington Informer.

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