China coronavirus heightens global alarm

The world is preparing for a possible outbreak of a deadly new virus. The coronavirus started in the Chinese city of Wuhan. It has killed 17 people. Over 540 people are in hospital. It has spread to the USA, Japan, Korea and Thailand. The World Health Organization is to decide whether the outbreak is a global health emergency. China is telling people not to panic. The Chinese New Year is next week and millions of people will travel across China to spend the holiday with their families. Meanwhile, Wuhan has suspended its public transport systems to help stop the spread of the virus.

The new coronavirus may have come from animals in a Wuhan market. The virus mutated and spread to a human. There are fears it could mutate and spread further. The virus is contagious. It can pass from person to person through the air. Virologist Dr Linfa Wang said the new coronavirus is in the same family as SARS, but it's different from SARS. He said people should look for pneumonia-like symptoms, such as fever, cough and breathing problems. Fu Ning, a 36-year-old woman from Beijing, said: "I feel fearful because there's no cure for the virus."