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China Confirms New Deadly Virus Is Spread Between Humans

China has reported 200 cases of a new coronavirus strain, with President Xi Jinping saying it must be dealt with quickly as human-to-human transmission is confirmed.

Jinping said it was "extremely crucial" to take every possible measure to combat the new virus which has infected 217 people in the country.

His remarks, cited by state broadcaster CCTV on Monday, came the same day that the country reported a sharp rise in the number of people infected by the novel form of viral pneumonia, including the first cases in the capital.

The outbreak comes as the country enters its busiest travel period, when millions board trains and planes for the Lunar New Year holidays.

"The recent outbreak of novel coronavirus pneumonia in Wuhan and other places must be taken seriously," Mr Xi said, according to CCTV.

"Party committees, governments and relevant departments at all levels should put people's lives and health first."

People wearing masks head for Beijing Station. Image: AAP

Health authorities in the central city of Wuhan, where the viral pneumonia appears to have originated, said an additional 136 cases have been confirmed in the city, which now has a total of 198 infected patients. As of the weekend, a third patient had died.

Later on Monday, the head of a Chinese government expert team says human-to-human transmission has been confirmed in an outbreak of a new coronavirus.

On Monday state media said the leader of the National Health Commission team said two people in southern China caught the diseases from family members.

Five individuals in Beijing and 14 in southern China's Guangdong province have also been diagnosed with the new coronavirus, state broadcaster CCTV reported.

A total of seven suspected cases have been found in other parts of the country, including in Sichuan and Yunnan provinces in the southwest and in Shanghai.