Official says death toll from SARS-like China virus rises to Six as number of confirmed virus cases jumps to nearly 300

China has said the number of confirmed cases of killer coronavirus has jumped to nearly 300 and may still be more as the death toll from the SARS-like China virus rises to Six, AFP reported citing a Chinese officials.

Number of people in China infected by a new mysterious SARS-like virus jumped to 291 on Tuesday, according to authorities.

There have been nearly 80 new confirmed cases of the virus that has so far killed four people, with over 900 still under medical observation, said the National Health Commission.

Officials also confirmed the virus has been passed from person-to-person.

The country's Henan province has also banned the sale of all live poultry in markets to stop the spread of the virus.

The flu-like condition is similar to the SARS virus that killed 774 people in the early 2000s across dozens of countries, mostly in Asia.

Experts believe at least 2,000 people may have been infected but say UK airport checks would only detect those who have started to show symptoms.

It is thought to be spread when an infected person coughs or sneezes.

Dr Nathalie MacDermott, leading expert from King’s College London, said: “There is potential for exposure given the volume and frequency of international air travel and the potential for someone travelling from an affected region arriving in the UK prior to them developing symptoms. Mirror reported.

“This is where appropriate screening measures need to be in place for travellers from affected regions who become unwell with fever and respiratory symptoms.

“Largely it would be something for a healthcare worker to consider if they had someone with respiratory symptoms who had history of contact with a confirmed case or travel to an affected region.

“Airport screening can be limited in its efficacy as it screens for fever in people with a travel history to an affected area and is dependent on travellers having symptoms at the time they pass through the airport.”

Singapore and Hong Kong have been screening air passengers from Wuhan and US authorities announced similar measures starting on Friday at three major airports in San Francisco, Los Angeles and New York.

The scientists have detected the scale of the problem through understanding where cases are reported in other countries.

While the outbreak is mainly concentrated in the central Chinese city of Wuhan, there have been two cases in Thailand and one in Japan.

Disease outbreak scientist Professor Neil Ferguson told the BBC: "I am substantially more concerned than I was a week ago."

He that that he is "worried" because of the spread of the disease and how it has travelled to other countries.

He added: "For Wuhan to have exported three cases to other countries would imply there would have to be many more cases than have been reported."

It is impossible to get a precise number, but outbreak modelling, which is based on the virus, the local population and flight data, can provide an estimate.

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