(Yicai Global) Jan. 22 -- Chinese health authorities announced Wednesday that 440 confirmed cases of pneumonia caused by the novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) had been reported in 13 provincial-level regions in the country by the end of Tuesday.
The cases had resulted in nine deaths, all in central China's Hubei Province, said Li Bin, deputy director of the National Health Commission, at a press conference.
Altogether 149 new confirmed cases were reported Tuesday, Li added.
Overseas, one case has been confirmed in Japan, three in Thailand, and one in the Republic of Korea.
A total of 2,197 close contacts have been traced, figures from the commission show. Among them, 1,394 are under medical observation while 765 others have been discharged.
The cases of infection have been on the rise recently, which is possibly due to improved diagnosis methods and advanced reagents for confirming the new coronavirus-related pneumonia, Li said.
Experts also said that respiratory transmission is the main path of contagion and the virus is likely to mutate, which will increase the risks of the pneumonia spreading.