On Saturday it was announced the coronavirus can now spread via aerosol transmission – meaning it can drift through the air for an extended period of time and cause infection if breathed in.
“Aerosol transmission refers to the mixing of the virus with droplets in the air to form aerosols which causes infection after inhalation,” Shanghai Civil Affairs Bureau deputy head Zeng Qun is quoted as saying by China Daily.
“As such we have called on the public to raise their awareness of the prevention and control of the disease.”
The Chinese government is urging residents to cancel all social activities and avoid large gatherings of people, reports China Daily.
The discovery of the disease being airborne means coronavirus now has three modes of transmission.
Direct transmission occurs when a person breathes the air close to an infected person who has coughed or sneezed.
Contact transmission is when a person touches a contaminated surface then infects themselves by touching their mouth, eyes or nose.
Coronavirus broke out in the city of Wuhan in China’s Hubei province in late December. Thought to have originated in a live market, the disease causes fever, coughing and breathing difficulty. In severe cases it can cause pneumonia and organ failure.
The virus has killed more than 800 people and infected 37,198 globally.
Only two people have died outside of mainland China – one in Hong Kong and the other in the Philippines.