Updated | Coronavirus: Five million people travelled out of Wuhan during outbreak

The total number of cases in China rises to 1,975 as 15 more deaths are reported on Sunday morning

5 million people travelled out of Wuhan during the outbreak
5 million people travelled out of Wuhan during the outbreak

The mayor of Wuhan, the epicentre of the coronavirus, told reporters that around 5 million people left the city of Wuhan during the outbreak, either for Lunar New Year travel purposes or because of the outbreak itself.

This means that the spread of the deadly virus could be wider than initially expected. Researchers of the virus report that the disease could be in its host without presenting any obvious symptoms for a long time. 

The first recorded case of an infant contracting the virus was also reported on Sunday in Beijing, China's capital. The baby girl is only nine months old and has travel history in Wuhan.

Number of confirmed cases of infection in and around China (Source: The New York Times)
Number of confirmed cases of infection in and around China (Source: The New York Times)

The death toll as a result of the coronavirus has risen to 56 as China reported 15 more deaths from the virus on Sunday morning. At the same time, the United States reported that a third case was confirmed, the latest in California.

One death in China comes from Shanghai, the country's biggest city. 

Across the country, 688 cases of the new virus were diagnosed on Saturday, the government said early on Sunday. This brings the total number of confirmed cases to 1,975.

As awareness increases, newsrooms all over the world are providing live updates on the swiftly-spreading deadly disease. Currently, there are suspected cases of the virus in Canada and Portugal even though doctors believe that local transmission outside China remains low.

In light of the outbreak, Malta's public health authorities have set up a coordinating team for a national response. In a statement on Saturday, the Superintendence of Public Health said it is monitoring the situation of the clusters of pneumonia detected in Wuhan City, Hubei Province, China and is following the advice of the World Health Organisation (WHO) and the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC).

Chinese President Xi Jinping warned that the country was facing "a grave situation" in a special government meeting on the Lunar New Year public holiday. 

READ ALSO: China virus scare: passenger screening at Malta airport not necessary

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