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    Killer Chinese coronavirus 'may be passed through SALIVA' as outbreak reaches Taiwan, death toll rises to six and 300 patients are struck down - and experts predict mystery disease will continue to spread

    The deadly Chinese coronavirus that has sickened more than 300 people could be passed through saliva, officials today suggested.

    China’s National Health Commission yesterday confirmed that the never-before-seen coronavirus had spread between humans.

    And now the official body has revealed the unnamed infection is spread from the lungs and may travel in saliva – such as through coughs. 

    Taiwan today confirmed its first case of the lethal bug, which has killed six people in the Chinese city of Wuhan, home to 11million people. 

    Health officials in the Asian territory announced a woman, thought to be around 50 years old, had caught the virus. She is currently in hospital receiving treatment. 

    The mayor of Wuhan – at the centre of the outbreak – announced two more victims of the lethal SARS-like infection this morning.

    A total of 313 people are confirmed to have caught the virus, including 15 healthcare workers. Cases have cropped up in Thailand, South Korea, Japan and now Taiwan.

    Australia and the Philippines have also reported suspected cases of the coronavirus, which China yesterday admitted has spread between humans. 

    The World Health Organization will hold an emergency meeting later in the week to discuss the outbreak, with cases having risen six-fold in the space of days.  

    Officials in the UK have told NHS hospitals how to deal with potential cases, as fears grow that the outbreak will spread over the Lunar New Year holidays, when millions of Chinese residents are set to travel.  


    A total of 304 people are confirmed to have caught the illness, with another 54 cases suspected and more than 900 people under observation (Pictured: The most recently available breakdown of where cases have been diagnosed)

    Professor Zhong Nanshan, leader of the National Health Commission's expert team, revealed the virus is likely to be spread by saliva in a press conference today.

    He told the meeting: 'As of now, it is affirmative that the new strain of coronavirus can be passed between humans. 

    'The virus is spread through respiratory system and distance of impact is not long, but it is possible that the virus was passed after being stuck to saliva.'

    Professor Nanshan said officials must 'quarantine the patients and stop them from contacting others'.

    And he added that the outbreak will not spread like SARS, so long as patients are quarantined immediately and their contacts are traced.  

    Stock markets in China and Hong Kong dipped today amid fears tourists will refrain from travelling, despite people being urged not to panic. 

    But shares in firms which make surgical face masks have surged as investors expect sales to rise as people seek to protect themselves.