Chinese authorities are placing the city of Wuhan under quarantine in an attempt to slow the outbreak of a new coronavirus that originated in the city.
The state-owned China Daily announced that trains and flights to Wuhan would be temporarily suspended. Local government authorities also announced that public transportation within the city would be curtailed by Thursday.
“There has already been human-to-human transmission and infection of medical workers,” deputy director of the National Health Commission Li Bin said at a Wednesday news conference. “Evidence has shown that the disease has been transmitted through the respiratory tract and there is the possibility of viral mutation.”
The World Health Organization announced at a separate press conference on Wednesday that it had decided not to declare a world emergency regarding the outbreak, but agreed to continue monitoring the situation.
Wuhan, the capital of Hubei province in central China, has already seen a number of cases of the virus. In total the virus has infected over 500 people and killed 17.
On Tuesday the Center for Disease Control reported the first confirmed case of the virus in the United States. A man from Washington State contracted the virus while on a visit to Wuhan. Other cases have been reported in Japan, South Korea, Taiwan and Thailand.
The Wuhan virus is from the same family of coronaviruses as SARS, or Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome, which killed over 800 people worldwide in an outbreak toward the end of 2002.