As the death toll increases to more than 900, a Chinese official has warned the deadly respiratory infection can be caught through aerosol transmission.
An official in Shanghai confirmed the virus wasn’t just passed on through human contact but can float long distances through the air.
This means the coronavirus can cause infections when breathed in, the Chinese official said.
“Aerosol transmission refers to the mixing of the virus with droplets in the air to form aerosols, which causes infection after inhalation, according to medical experts,” Shanghai Civil Affairs Bureau deputy head Zeng Qun said at press briefing on Saturday, China Daily reports.
The government has gone as far as to warn people to avoid social gatherings to prevent the virus from spreading further.
“As such, we have called on the public to raise their awareness of the prevention and control of the disease caused by family gatherings,” Qun said.
Coronavirus was previously thought to spread through close contact with an infected person or by touching an object contaminated with the virus before touching one’s eyes, nose or mouth.
In response to the rapid transmission of the virus, Chinese authorities have urged people to disinfect door handles, dinner tables and toilet seats.
The warning comes as nine members of the same family tested positive for coronavirus in Hong Kong after sharing a meal together.
On Monday, China’s health ministry said 908 people had died from coronavirus, with two further deaths recorded outside Mainland China.
The number of those infected in Mainland China now stands at a staggering 40,171.
Contact Eden at firstname.lastname@example.org