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China coronavirus outbreak: Death toll hits 26 as Chinese cities locked down and U.S. tests 12 possible cases

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Posted at 8:22 AM, Jan 24, 2020
and last updated 2020-01-24 10:38:19-05

Authorities in China raced Friday to lock down more cities in an extraordinary bid to halt the spread of the deadly coronavirus, which has left at least 26 people dead in the country and sickened hundreds more. The move is unprecedented and affects more than 30 million people.

The U.S. has confirmed one case, and there were 12 other patients being tested for the virus in the U.S. as of Friday morning.

Authorities believe the new coronavirus, which causes flu-like symptoms, moved into the human population from an infected animal at a market in the central Chinese city of Wuhan.

Chinese health officials and the World Health Organization confirmed this week that the virus has been transmitted person-to-person, but it remains unclear how easy it is to contract it from another infected individual. The WHO on Thursday declined to declare the virus a global public health emergency, saying it was still too soon to take that measure.