The virus that caused the outbreak in southern China’s Xinjiang region has been found in an old building site and was in circulation in at least three cities, the World Health Organization said.
The WHO has confirmed that the virus was detected in a large building site in Xinjiang, according to a news release issued Thursday.
The source of the virus is unknown.
It has been linked to the region’s largest Muslim Uighur community.
It is the second coronaviral pandemic to hit Xinjiang in less than a week, following a wave of coronaviruses that swept the country in 2014.
The outbreak has also spread to other regions in China, with more than 10,000 cases reported.
In some areas, including Yunnan province, it has caused severe respiratory and neurological illness, but officials say they do not know the full extent of the death toll.
The Xinjiang outbreak has led to fears of a “global pandemic” that could lead to massive travel restrictions.