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  • A woman wearing a mask walks along a street in Beijing, China, Jan. 21, 2020.

    A woman wearing a mask walks along a street in Beijing, China, Jan. 21, 2020. | Photo: Reuters

Published 21 January 2020

President Xi ordered to place people's safety and health as the country's top priority.

China's President Xi Jinping ordered health authorities at all levels to increase their efforts to curb the spread of the new coronavirus (2019-nCoV), which has caused 217 confirmed cases of pneumonia and has left 6 people dead so far.

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"Party committees and governments at all levels should place people's safety and health as their top priority and take effective measures to stop the spread of the virus," President Xi said, as reported by China News.

Prevention and control prevention measures are particularly important at this time because the Chinese begin to prepare for the Spring Festival vacations.

This will involve the displacement of millions between the different regions of the country, which will increase the risk of contagion and spread of the epidemic.

On Monday, China’s National Health Commission confirmed that the new virus causing pneumonia has been passed from person-to-person and infected some medical staff.

Zhong Nanshan, a respiratory expert who is leading the health commission team investigating the outbreak, confirmed that two cases of infection in China’s Guangdong Province as due to human-to-human transmission.

The outbreak, which began in the central city of Wuhan, also sent shivers through financial markets as investors recalled the fallout from the Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) outbreak, which between 2002 and 2003 killed 650 people in mainland China and Hong Kong.

"Taiwan detects its first patient with new pneumonia coming from central China."

Prime Minister Li Keqiang also instructed subnational governments to achieve better communication and coordination with the World Health Organization (WHO) and with the health authorities of Hong Kong, Macao, and Taiwan.

Outside of China, cases of 2019-nCOV pneumonia have been confirmed in Japan (1), Thailand (2), and Korea (1).

On Tuesday morning, Taiwan confirmed its first pneumonia case, a woman who was recently in the Chinese city of Wuhan. Currently, she has been placed under quarantine.

The WHO called a meeting for Wednesday to consider declaring a global health emergency.

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