China confirms human-to-human transmission as SARS-like virus spreads Jan 21, 2020 0 516 12345 AFPBeijingA SARS-like virus that has spread across China and reached three other Asian nations is contagious between humans, a government expert said on Monday, fuelling fears of a major outbreak as millions travel for the Lunar New Year holiday.The new coronavirus strain, first discovered in the central city of Wuhan, has caused alarm because of its connection to Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS), which killed nearly 650 people across mainland China and Hong Kong in 2002-2003.The total number of people diagnosed with the virus rose to 218, as Beijing and Shanghai confirmed their first cases on Monday while more than a dozen more emerged in southern Guangdong province and and 136 new ones were found over the weekend in Wuhan, according to state broadcaster CCTV. A third person died in Wuhan, the local health commission said.Scientists have scrambled to determine the mode of transmission, with a seafood market in Wuhan believed to be the centre of the outbreak. But Zhong Nanshan, a renowned scientist at the National Health Commission who helped expose the scale of the SARS outbreak, said patients could contract the new virus without having visited the city.“Currently, it can be said it is affirmative that there is the phenomenon of human-to- human transmission,” he said in an interview with CCTV.In Guangdong, two patients were infected by family members who visited Wuhan, Zhong explained.Fourteen medical personnel helping with coronavirus patients have also been infected, he said, though he added that more than 95 of the total cases were related to Wuhan.The World Health Organization said earlier an animal source seemed to be “the most likely primary source” with “some limited human-to-human transmission occurring between close contacts”.Wuhan has 11 million inhabitants and serves as a major transport hub, including during the annual Lunar New Year. Pages 12 RELATED ARTICLES Evacuation crackdown ordered as Philippine volcano ‘recharges’ Jan 21, 2020 0 898 Putin submits reform plans to Russian parliament Jan 21, 2020 0 332 State of emergency amid fears of violence at Virginia pro-gun rally Jan 21, 2020 0 849 Trump’s legal team demands immediate acquittal AFP Washington President Donald Trump’s lawyers submitted a trial brief on Monday calling his impeachment by the House “a dangerous perversion” of the US constitution and demanding his immediate acquittal by the .. Outcry in Pakistan as lawyers’ group asks members to declare faith Islamabad: A lawyers’ association in Pakistan has triggered criticism by asking its Muslim members to submit a certificate of faith declaring belief in the finality of the Prophet Mohammed (PBUH). The move by the .. Indian Christians protest against new citizenship law Kolkata: More than 8,000 people from the Christian community took to the streets in eastern India on Monday to protest against a citizenship law that critics say discriminates against Muslims. One of the protest .. British PM suffers first defeat since election after losing vote on post-Brexit citizens rights AFP London British Prime Minister Boris Johnson on Monday suffered his first parliamentary defeat since the election when peers voted to give EU citizens physical proof of their right to stay after Brexit. Members of the ..