China shuts down more cities in bid to contain virus

Marco Green
January 23, 2020

It said seven hospitals are being "fully utilised" with 3,000 beds set aside to treat suspected and confirmed cases.

Authorities in China have enforced a partial lockdown of transport links in and out of the central city of Wuhan, disrupting the Lunar New Year travel plans of millions as part of efforts to contain a deadly coronavirus outbreak.

Speaking in the House of Commons this morning, Health Secretary Matt Hancock said the NHS is "ready" for an outbreak of coronavirus.

The new strain of coronavirus, which has spread overseas, is believed to have originated in Wuhan - and the city has gone into lockdown. All public transport services in the city of 11 million people have also been suspended until further notice.

"It is likely that the outbreak of a novel coronavirus in Wuhan has caused substantially more cases of moderate or severe respiratory illness than have now been detected and reported", the team said.

He is consulting England's chief medical officer, Professor Chris Whitty.

He added: "The UK is one of the first countries to have developed a world-leading test for the new coronavirus".

Australia and Britain are among the countries that have advised citizens against all but essential travel to Wuhan.

Chinese authorities are still investigating the origins of the virus, though they confirmed the outbreak began at a market in Wuhan with illegal wildlife transactions and that it can spread from one person to another via respiratory transmission. "So they recognise that". We will do our best to keep you anonymous.

Such sweeping measures are typical of China's authoritarian communist government, although their effectiveness in containing the outbreak remains uncertain.

Other cases have been reported in the United States, Japan, South Korea and Thailand.

WHO convened its emergency committee of independent experts on Thursday to consider whether the outbreak should be declared a global health emergency, after the group failed to come to a consensus on Wednesday.

A global emergency is the highest level of alarm the World Health Organization can sound and has previously been used in response to swine flu, Zika virus and Ebola.

All the entrances at the Wuhan Railway Station and many expressway entrances in Hubei Province, where Wuhan is located, have been closed.

Many of those who died were elderly or had other health risks, infectious disease epidemiologist Dr Maria D Van Kerkhove said at a WHO press conference.

China has chose to lock down three cities that are home to more than 18 million people in an unprecedented effort to try to contain a deadly new viral illness that has sickened hundreds and spread to other cities and countries in the Lunar New Year travel rush. Hours later, neighbouring Huanggang, a city of about 7 million people, and Ezhou announced a similar lockdown.

"These novel findings warrant future investigation to experimentally determine if snake serves as the 2019-nCoV reservoir and the homologous recombination within the spike glycoprotein determine the tropism of the 2019-nCoV in viral transmission and replication", the study reads.

The Sars (Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome) virus that killed almost 800 people globally in the early 2000s was also a coronavirus, as is the common cold.

Authorities have said this new virus originated in a seafood market in Wuhan that "conducted illegal transactions of wild animals". In the afternoon, state media reported that authorities were beginning to shut down roads and highways leaving the city.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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