Authorities in Hong Kong have activated a recently created “serious response” threat level Saturday as a mysterious SARS-like respiratory illness begins to spread throughout central China, according to AP.

While just 44 people have been admitted to the hospital with the unidentified virus – eleven of them in serious condition, authorities in Wuhan, China have put 121 people under observation who have been in close contact with the infected. Five cases, meanwhile, have been reported in Shanghai – around 570 miles north of Hong Kong.

A Wuhan government official told SCMP that his wife, a nurse in the infectious disease unit at the Central Hospital, has been unable to go home for the past several days because her ward has been on “lockdown.”

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