The death toll from the outbreak of a new respiratory virus in China has climbed to 17, local media reported Thursday.

Health authorities have also confirmed that hundreds of others are infected, according to a report by the South China Morning Post.

With the novel coronavirus raising alarm across the globe, the World Health Organization (WHO) will hold an emergency meeting in Geneva later today.

Chinese health officials have already confirmed human-to-human transmission of the virus.

A total of 541 people are confirmed infected in the country, according to officials.

Read more: Death toll from China’s coronavirus outbreak hits 17