China says number of confirmed virus cases jumps to nearly 300

Beijing: The number of people in China infected by a new SARS-like virus jumped to 291 on Tuesday, according to authorities.

There have been nearly 80 new confirmed cases of the virus that has so far killed four people, with over 900 still under medical observation, said the National Health Commission.

Global stock and oil prices tumbled Tuesday as concern about the impact of a Chinese disease outbreak increased. London and Frankfurt declined and Shanghai, Tokyo and Hong Kong closed sharply lower after China announced a fourth death from coronavirus. The outbreak, centered on the central Chinese city of Wuhan, has sickened more than 200 people.

Heightened precautions were being taken in China and elsewhere Tuesday as governments strove to control the outbreak of a new coronavirus that threatens to spread further during the Lunar New Year travel rush.

Anxieties grew after Chinese government expert Zhong Nanshan revealed on state television late Monday that the virus can be spread from one person to another.

The first cases late last month were connected to a seafood market, and transmission was suspected to be occurring from animal-to-human. Authorities previously had not confirmed human-to-human transmission.