Medical authorities on Monday said an outbreak of a mysterious lung disease is spreading to more Chinese cities, with 139 new cases confirmed over the weekend.
Medical authorities in Wuhan, the central Chinese metropolis where the pneumonia was first identified in December, confirmed 136 new cases over the weekend, including a third death.
The disease has also spread to Beijing, where two patients have been identified in Daxing district, in the south part of the city.
Another case was reported in the southern metropolis of Shenzhen, close to the border with Hong Kong.
The three patients in Beijing and Shenzhen had all travelled to Wuhan, medical authorities said.
According to the Wuhan Municipal Health Commission,so far, three people in Wuhan have died from the disease and 25 patients have been discharged out of a total of 198 cases reported since December.
South Korea confirmed its first case on Monday, from a 35-year-old Chinese woman who travelled from Wuhan to South Korea on Sunday.
She was suffering from fever, breathing problems and other symptoms, and tested positive for the coronavirus.
The disease has also been confirmed in Thailand and Japan.
Concerns about the spread of the disease are rising, as millions of people are travelling during the Lunar New Year holiday this week.
The new virus belongs to the same family of coronaviruses that causes Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome, a disease that killed 800 people globally in a 2002 to 2003 pandemic that started in China.
The National Health Commission said on Sunday that scientists have not yet discovered the source of the new type of coronavirus or fully understood its methods of transmission.
The World Health Organisation had said earlier the disease was not transmittable among people and advised against a travel ban during the Lunar New Year rush.(dpa/NAN)