On 31 .12.2019, the Chinese government issued an alert to the World Health Organization (WHO) about a new illness that was spreading through the city of Wuhan. Patients were showing symptoms of fever, dry cough, and pneumonia. Soon after showing the initial symptoms, some of the patients were dying. The cause was a new virus, named SARS-CoV-2, and health officials were trying to find how it originated.
A leading hypothesis is that the virus emerged from animals at a food market in Wuhan. In 2003, a virus very similar to SARS-CoV-2 emerged from a market in Foshan, China. It caused the SARS disease, which spread to many countries and killed nearly 800 people. As of March 9, SARS-CoV-2 has reached 85 countries and has killed more than 3,600 people.
The similarities between the two viruses raised the question of why new diseases emerge from China? The link below answers this question.