The death toll from the deadly coronavirus has risen to 81, the Chinese Health Ministry said on Monday.
The number of deaths in Hubei province, where the virus emanated from, climbed from 56 to 76, with five deaths elsewhere, officials said.
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On Monday, Li Keqiang, the Chinese Premier, visited Wuhan, the capital of Hubei province.
The virus is thought to have originated in animals, but no cause has been officially identified. Officials announced a sale of all wildlife in China.
The coronavirus causes severe acute respiratory infection and there is no specific cure or vaccine.
Most of the deaths have been of elderly people or those with pre-existing respiratory problems.
Ma Xiaowei, the Chinese Health Minister, said on Sunday that the ability of the virus to spread appeared to be strengthening.
The incubation period in humans – during which a person has the disease, but no symptoms yet – ranges from between one and 14 days, officials believe.
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Without symptoms, a person may not know they have the infection, but still be able to spread it.
As much as 15 Chinese cities have imposed significant travel restrictions are either on full or partial lockdown as the disease has spread to neighbouring cities and provinces.
The disease has also spread outside China, with 44 cases reported in Hong Kong, Japan, Taiwan, Thailand, South Korea, Australia, the United States and France.
There have been no reported deaths outside China.
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