A fourth person in China has died from a new virus that has spread rapidly across the country, as authorities confirmed that it can be passed from person-to-person.

A 89-year-old man was the latest victim of the new strain of coronavirus, which causes a type of pneumonia.

He lived in Wuhan, the city at the centre of the outbreak.

More than 200 cases have now been reported across major cities in China including Beijing and Shanghai.

The World Health Organization (WHO) is considering declaring an international public health emergency over the virus – as it did with swine flu and Ebola. The decision will be made in a meeting on Wednesday.

China’s National Health Commission on Monday confirmed for the first time that the infection could be transmitted from human-to-human. It said two people in Guangdong province had been infected in this way.

In a separate statement, the Wuhan Municipal Health Commission said at least 15 medical workers in Wuhan have also been infected with the virus, with one in a critical condition.

The workers presumably became infected with the virus due to contact with patients. All of them are being kept in isolation while being treated.

Where has the virus spread?

The disease was first identified in Wuhan, a central Chinese city of 11 million people, late last year. There are currently 218 confirmed cases of the virus in China, according to the WHO.

A handful of cases have also been identified abroad: two in Thailand, one in Japan, and another in South Korea. Those infected had recently returned from Wuhan.

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