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  1. ITV Report

Coronavirus outbreak: Death toll rises to six, spreads to four countries

China is experiencing a high volume of travel due to the Luna New Year period. Credit: AP

A sixth person has died in an outbreak of a new coronavirus which has infected close to 300 people in China, authorities said.

At least 270 cases are in the eastern city of Wuhan, where the outbreak is believed to have started late last month among people connected to a seafood market.

All six casualties are from Wuhan and a further 50 patients are in a critical condition.

On Tuesday the virus had spread to 14 of China's 23 provinces and cases have been confirmed among travellers from China in South Korea, Japan, Thailand and Taiwan.

Authorities also confirmed late on Monday the virus can be transmitted from human to human, raising anxiety during the Lunar New Year period where billions travel across China to their home town or village for the holiday period.

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Increased control measures have been enforced at many places, with epidemiologists still uncertain of the outbreak’s nature and mode of transmission.

  • Health workers testing passengers on a plane out of Wuhan for signs of the virus. Video: Twitter @davidpaulk

Video posted to social media showed passengers on a domestic flight out of Wuhan being tested for temperature by workers in hazmat outfits.

Chinese authorities confirmed at least 15 medical workers had been infected with the virus.

At least six people in China have died from the illness Credit: Mark Schiefelbein/AP

Countries including Japan, Australia and the US have adopted screening measures for those arriving from China due to concerns about a global outbreak like that caused by severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS), which spread from China to more than a dozen countries in 2002 and 2003 and killed nearly 800 people.

Initial symptoms of the new coronavirus include fever, cough, tightness of the chest and shortness of breath.