Coronavirus: 56 other people killed from outbreak in China | International Information

Fifty-six people have died from the coronavirus outbreak in China, the country’s state media has reported.

It comes as China’s Hubei province reports 13 new deaths from the virus.

The total number of confirmed coronavirus cases in China is now at 1,975.

Shanghai also reported its first death from the outbreak and 323 new confirmed cases of coronavirus infections.

More than 50 million people are on lockdown in China as the government warns the virus is "accelerating its spread".

President Xi warns of ‘grave situation’ as Coronavirus infection spreads

Separately, the province of Henan reported one death from the virus.

The virus originated in the central Chinese city of Wuhan in Hubei late last year and has spread to Chinese cities including Beijing.

President Xi Jinping told a politburo meeting the country was facing a “grave situation” where the virus is “accelerating its spread”.

A report on state TV said resources and experts are being concentrated at designated hospitals for treatment of severe cases, with no treatment delayed due to cost, and supplies of materials to Hubei province and its capital Wuhan to be guaranteed.

Around two dozen cases in all have been confirmed outside mainland China, nearly all of them in Asia: Hong Kong, Macao, South Korea, Japan, Singapore, Thailand, Taiwan, Vietnam, Nepal, Australia, Malaysia and Canada.

Canada declared on Saturday that Toronto had identified its first coronavirus case – a resident who recently returned from Wuhan.

France confirmed three cases on Friday, the first in Europe, and the US identified its second, a woman in Chicago who had returned from China.

While most of the deaths have been older patients, a 36-year-old man in Hubei died on Thursday.

State-run China Global Television Network also confirmed that a doctor who had been treating patients in Wuhan, 62-year-old Liang Wudong, had died from the virus.

Pharmacy workers wearing protective clothes and masks serve customers in Wuhan
Pharmacy workers wearing protective clothes and masks serve customers in Wuhan
Chinese tourists wearing masks walk through the Ginza shopping district in Tokyo, Japan
Chinese tourists wearing masks walk through the Ginza shopping district in Tokyo, Japan

“The individual is stable and is hospitalised” the government said in a statement.

China has announced further transport restrictions in a bid to stop the outbreak from spreading, with Hong Kong declaring a virus emergency and scrapping Luna New Year celebrations that began on Saturday.

In the epicentre of the outbreak, Wuhan, where 11 million residents are already on lockdown, most vehicle use has been banned, including private cars, in downtown areas starting Sunday, state media reported.

The city will assign 6,000 taxis to neighbourhoods to help people get around if they need to, China Daily said.

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Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam said her government will raise its response level to emergency – the highest one – and close primary and secondary schools for two more weeks on top of next week’s Lunar New Year holiday.

Ms Lam added that direct flights and trains from Wuhan would be blocked.

The Chinese military dispatched 450 medical staff, some with experience in past outbreaks including SARS and Ebola, who arrived in Wuhan late on Friday night to help treat the many patients hospitalised with viral pneumonia.

Two new dedicated hospitals are being built in the city to cope with rising numbers of cases.

Construction has already started on the first facility, with enough space for 1,000 patients, which is expected to be completed by 3 February.

The second, which is designed to have 1,300 beds, is due to be finished within three weeks.

The Ministry of Commerce is co-ordinating an effort to supply more than two million masks and other products from elsewhere in the country.

More follows…

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