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China broadens lockdowns as coronavirus death toll rises

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China has stepped up its response to a new coronavirus outbreak that has killed 26 people and infected at least 830, placing restrictions on 10 cities Hubei province – the centre of the outbreak.

More than 20.5 million people are living in the cities affected, some of which have suspended public transport amid fears that the transmission rate will accelerate as hundreds of millions of Chinese travel for the Lunar New Year.

Health authorities around the world are taking action to prevent a global pandemic, with cases reported in JapanThailandSouth Korea and the United States.

The World Health Organization (WHO) has acknowledged that the respiratory illness, which has been traced to the city of Wuhan, is an emergency in China but said it is too early to declare a global health emergency.

Here are the latest updates: as of Friday, January 24

Russia suspends flights from Moscow to Wuhan

Flights from Moscow to Wuhan have been suspended over fears about the spread of the new coronavirus, Interfax news agency cited an unnamed source as saying.

A search on Aeroflot Russian Airlines’ website appeared to show no flights between Moscow and Wuhan were running.

Japan raises warning level, tells citizens to avoid Hubei province

Japan has raised its infectious disease advisory level for China‘s Hubei province to 3, telling its citizens not to take any trips there due to the outbreak.

Earlier on Friday, Japan confirmed a second case of the new coronavirus.

UK ‘highly likely’ to have cases of coronavirus: Health official

Cases of the new coronavirus in the United Kingdom are highly likely, one of the country’s top health bosses said.

“I think it’s highly likely that we will have cases in the UK,” Professor Paul Cosford, emeritus medical director of Public Health England, told the BBC.

“We do have a whole range of plans ready to go when that is the case and these are being implemented now,” he said.

Hong Kong hospitals near full capacity

Hong Kong‘s hospitals are nearing full capacity as the semi-autonomous territory deals with the coronavirus outbreak.

The director of Hong Kong’s hospital authority said 97 percent of beds were occupied and a spike was expected after the Lunar New Year.

Some 97 percent of Hong Kong’s beds are occupied [cnsphoto via Reuters]

Two cases were confirmed in Hong Kong on Friday, while Al Jazeera’s Adrian Brown, reporting from Hong Kong, said there are more than 200 suspected cases.

Singapore confirms two more cases: Health ministry

Singapore has confirmed two more cases of the new coronavirus, the city state’s health ministry said.

The ministry said it expected more imported cases because of high travel volume from China.

Singapore’s tally of confirmed cases is now three.


China rushes to build 1,000-bed hospital in Wuhan

China is rushing to build a new hospital in a staggering 10 days to treat patients of the coronavirus outbreak in Wuhan, state media reported.

The 1,000-bed, 25,000-square-foot facility is expected to be in use by February 3 to serve the rising number of patients.

In 2003, China erected a hospital on Beijing’s rural outskirts in barely a week to cater to a rapidly rising number of patients suffering from SARS.

Shanghai Disneyland to be closed

Shanghai’s Disneyland resort will be closed from Saturday to help prevent the spread of the virus, the theme parks’s operator said.

“In response to the prevention and control of the disease outbreak and in order to ensure the health and safety of our guests and Casts, Shanghai Disney Resort is temporarily closing Shanghai Disneyland, Disneytown,” it said on its website.

Shanghai Disney

“We will continue to carefully monitor the situation and … announce the reopening date upon confirmation.”

China is on a seven-day Lunar New Year holiday starting Friday, a period when Shanghai Disney park would usually be packed with tourists.

Regional airline cancels flights to and from Wuhan

AirAsia, one of the leading regional airlines in Asia, cancelled on Friday all flights to and from the city of Wuhan, following the Chinese government’s decision to put the city under lockdown.

“The move is meant to assist in controlling the current Wuhan novel coronavirus outbreak situation and comply with Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC) requirements,” the airline said in a statement.

According to Reuters news agency, at least 10 cities around Wuhan have also been placed on lockdown, as the government attempts to stop the spread of the disease.

China confirms 830 coronavirus cases, with 26 deaths

The number of cases of patients infected has risen to 830, while the death toll from the virus has reached 26, the National Health Commission announced.

Meanwhile, another city near Wuhan halted transport on Friday and closed its river bridge as the country escalates efforts to contain the disease.

Huangshi city in Hubei province announced that transport routes and a ferry terminal was shut down starting at 0200 GMT on Friday.

In all, at least 10 cities have already been ordered on lockdown.


Singapore PM: Wuhan virus does not appear to be as deadly as SARS

Singapore‘s prime minister has said the city-state is well prepared to tackle the Wuhan coronavirus, adding that it did not appear to be as deadly as the 2003 Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) pandemic.

“We are well prepared, because we have been gearing up for such a situation ever since we dealt with SARS in 2003,” Lee Hsien Loong said in an annual Chinese New Year speech.

“MOH (Ministry of Health) has now activated plans to counter the spread of the virus, which so far does not appear to be as deadly as SARS was.”

On Thursday, Singapore confirmed its first case of the coronavirus strain, which originated in China, and said another case has preliminarily tested positive.

Japan, South Korea confirm new cases of Wuhan virus

Japan has confirmed a second case of infection by the new coronavirus from China, the health ministry said.

The infection was confirmed in a man in his 40s who lives in Wuhan – the Chinese city at the centre of the outbreak – and travelled to Japan, the health ministry said in a statement.

The man, who arrived in Japan on Sunday, is currently hospitalised, the ministry said.

South Korea also confirmed the second case of coronavirus that originated from China, according to the country’s Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (KCDC).

Read all previous updates here.


Source: Al Jazeera

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