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China coronavirus ‘spreads before symptoms show’

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Fifty-six people have died from the virus. Health minister Ma Xiaowei told reporters the ability of the virus to spread appeared to be strengthening.

A new coronavirus that has spread to more than 2,000 people is infectious in its incubation period – before symptoms show – making it harder to contain, Chinese officials say

The infections were at a “crucial stage of containment”, Ma Xiaowei said.

Officials announced that the sale of all wildlife in China would be banned from Sunday. The virus is thought to have originated in animals, but no cause has been officially identified.

In humans, the incubation period – during which a person has the disease, but no symptoms yet – ranges from between one and 14 days, officials believe.

Without symptoms, a person may not know they have the infection, but still be able to spread it.

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