The death toll from a new flu-like coronavirus in China rose to nine on Wednesday.

Chinese health officials report the total confirmed cases of the virus have skyrocketed to 440.

Authorities stepped up efforts to control the outbreak by discouraging public gatherings in Hubei province.

2,197 people who came into contact with infected people have been isolated.

Health officials have confirmed there is evidence that the virus is being spread through “respiratory transmission”.

According to Reuters, China has vowed to tighten containment measures in hospitals.

The World Health Organization (WHO) is due to hold an emergency meeting on Wednesday regarding the outbreak.

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