Around 17 new cases of coronavirus infection were reported in the Chinese city of Wuhan on Sunday, January 18. Till now, the virus has infected 62 people in China and three overseas.

Two people have lost their lives to the virus. The recent outbreak comes ahead of China's Lunar New Year holiday when hundreds of millions of people are expected to travel domestically and abroad.

Cases: Domestic and international

Bacteria
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The disease outbreak first occurred in December, last year, in the Chinese city of Wuhan, the epicentre of the viral outbreak.

Among those 17 cases, three were described as 'severe', two patients are too critical to be moved, authorities said, AFP reported. Age of those infected ranges from 30 to 79 years old. According to authorities, out of the 62 affected, eight are in 'severe' condition, 19 have been cured and hence discharged, while the remaining are being treated.

Till, now two people in Wuhan have lost their lives, which includes a 61-year-old man who lost his life on January 9 and a 69-year-old man who died on January 15. Three overseas infections have been reported, two in Thailand and one in Japan. All the three affected are either from Wuhan or had recently travelled to Wuhan.

Though China's official number of those affected stands at 62, according to scientists at the MRC Centre for Global Infectious Disease Analysis at Imperial College of London, have stated that the official numbers are understated. The actual number of patients affected is close to 1,700.

What is coronavirus?

Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses that can cause illness, ranging from the common cold to SARS (Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome). Little information is available about the virus's strain reported in Wuhan, but it is from the same family as the deadly SARS pathogen, that infected about 8,000 people in over 37 countries and claimed about 80 lives.

The recent outbreak in Wuhan is linked to the city's seafood market. Human-to-human transmission hasn't been confirmed by the authorities. But cases of those who haven't visited the market have shown that virus' 'human-to-human' transmission cannot be ruled out.