The Huanan Seafood Market in Wuhan, where it is believed the outbreak started. Photo: Weibo

A 61-year-old man died in a hospital on Thursday evening after he was infected with a new kind of coronavirus related to the unknown pneumonia disease in the Chinese mainland city of Wuhan, Hubei province.

The man, a frequent shopper in Huanan Seafood Market in Wuhan, had been sent to the hospital due to serious pneumonia and respiratory failure, the Wuhan Municipal Health Commission said in a statement on Saturday morning, citing an unnamed medical expert. The deceased also had trauma in his abdomen and chronic liver disease.

The man showed positive results on the nucleic acid test with the DNA sequence of the new coronavirus identified by mainland experts on Tuesday. He was diagnosed with serious pneumonia, acute respiratory distress syndrome, sepsis shock, multiple organ failure, serious acid-base disorder and liver cirrhosis while the direct cause of his death was respiratory failure.

As of Friday late evening, 41 people had been infected with the new coronavirus, including two people who had recovered and been released from hospitalization, seven people in serious condition and the one had died, according to the commission. The remaining 31 patients were in stable condition.

The infected people had close contact with 739 people, including 419 medical staff. None of those people showed symptoms of the disease.

The commission said all infected cases had been identified between December 8 and January 2. It had not identified any new cases from January 3.

It said there had not been any evidence showing that the disease could be transmitted between humans. It urged the public to continue to maintain environmental hygiene and take preventive measures to avoid spreading diseases.

This was the latest update announced by the commission since it released a statement on January 5 evening. It said at that time it had identified 59 people who had been infected by an unknown pneumonia disease, with seven of the cases deemed serious.

On Saturday morning, Sophia Chan Siu-chee, Hong Kong’s Secretary for Food and Health, told media after a radio program that the Hong Kong government had communicated with China’s National Health Commission and had asked to get the DNA sequence of the disease. She did not rule out the possibility of a face-to-face meeting.

On Friday, Chan was urged by lawmakers from different parties to push the mainland harder to get more information about the Wuhan disease. Some lawmakers suggested the Hong Kong government to send some experts to directly investigate the disease in Wuhan.

The death rate of the Wuhan disease was lower than that of severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) and Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS), said Leung Chi-chiu, chairman of the Advisory Committee on Communicable Diseases of the Hong Kong Medical Association. However, it was too early to say that the disease could not be transmitted between humans, Leung said.

It seemed that the disease had been contained in Wuhan after the Huanan Seafood Market was closed, he said. More time was needed to see whether the source of the new virus had been under control, he added.

Read: Lawmakers to HK govt: Investigate Wuhan disease!

Read: Wuhan disease similar to SARS, MERS, say experts

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