Coronavirus outbreak: 16 people had contact with infected Washington state man

Henrietta Strickland
January 24, 2020

"SARS broke out far away in southern China", she said.

The SARS virus, an acute respiratory illness, killed more than 600 people in Hong Kong and mainland China during an outbreak in 2002.

Another city close to Wuhan, Huanggang, is also under quarantine as officials try to contain the spread.

Wuhan's local government said it would shut down all urban transport networks and suspend outgoing flights from the city as of 10 a.m. (0200 GMT) Thursday, state media reported, adding that the government is urging citizens to not leave the city in the absence of special circumstances.

"Once we get that nailed down we will have a better sense of how readily it will be exported to other countries and how readily it will set up chains of transmission in those countries".

The restrictions come just before the Lunar New Year when hundreds of millions of people are expected to travel through China for the celebrations, The Times reported.

There are more than 500 confirmed cases of the virus which has spread overseas.

"I was on the train back to Wuhan when [the announcement] was live on TV".

But with the USA confirming its first infection in Washington state Tuesday, Khan said the disease is now turning into an outbreak with global reach.

Another Wuhan resident said on social media site Weibo that they were on the "verge of tears" when they heard about the closures.

"To my knowledge, trying to contain a city of 11 million people is new to science", Gauden Galea, the World Health Organization's representative in China, told The Associated Press in an interview at the WHO's Beijing office. No-one could understand it if you are not right here right now.

Others stuck in the city said they had mixed feelings: while they wanted to go home to their families elsewhere in China for the Spring Festival, they did not want to put their loved ones in danger.

"I was filled with regret, loneliness, and couldn't fall asleep - but when I saw the lockdown notice, I believed I made the right decision".

Wuhan, which has a population of more than 11 million people, was placed under quarantine Thursday morning and officials planned to shut down the airport and public transportation.

The previously unknown coronavirus strain is believed to have emerged late a year ago from illegally traded wildlife at an animal market in the central Chinese city of Wuhan.

China Airlines' flights from Taipei leave from the city's main Taoyuan worldwide airport. The Washington state patient had recently returned from Wuhan.

According to the German embassy in Beijing, around 50 German citizens are now in Wuhan.

"There are only very few flights to Beijing and that's very expensive", he told the ABC.

The Beijing government added that they would provide more information "as the epidemic situation evolves". Now, researchers think they know where it came from.

"The streets are empty, there's no-one - people are indoors, and the advice is to be indoors", she said.

"This, together with reported chains of human to human transmission means this is an outbreak that the global community needs to take seriously".

The Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI), which is co-funding the emergency projects, said the plan was to have at least one potential vaccine in clinical trials by June.

Mike Ryan, executive director of WHO's Health Emergencies Programme, said an official from China's National Health Commission today gave the committee a "very deep presentation" that underscores how many questions remain.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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