Wuhan bans cars, Hong Kong closes schools as virus spreads

Henrietta Strickland
January 25, 2020

Three men tested positive to the respiratory condition in NSW on Saturday, state health authorities confirmed. A third person, who is a close relative of one of the other two, has also been confirmed to have the virus.

The Snohomish County man who has the United States' first known case of the virus returned to Seattle-Tacoma International Airport on January 15 after traveling solo in Wuhan since November.

Inbound and outbound flights and high speed rail trips between Hong Kong and Wuhan, the epicentre of the outbreak, would be halted, and schools, now on Lunar New Year holidays, would remain shut until 17 February.

The National Health Commission said it is bringing in medical teams from outside Hubei to help handle the outbreak, a day after videos circulating online showed throngs of frantic people in masks lined up for examinations and complaints that family members had been turned away at hospitals that were at capacity. The country reported its first case on January 20 - a 35-year-old woman who flew in from Wuhan. Most of the fatalities have been in elderly patients, many with pre-existing conditions, the World Health Organization said.

The coronavirus has killed at least 41 people and infected nearly 1,300 since its discovery in the city of Wuhan. Also, Texas officials are investigating an unconfirmed case involving a student at Texas A&M University.

The WHO said on Thursday it was a "bit too early" to designate the outbreak a public health emergency of worldwide concern, which would require countries to step up their response.

Health authorities in the city of Hechi in Guangxi province said that a 2-year-old girl from Wuhan had been diagnosed with the illness after arriving in the city.

In total, there have been 41 deaths and 38 who have been cured and discharged.

Singapore: Singapore has announced at least three cases - a 66-year-old man and his 37-year-old son, who arrived in Singapore on Monday from Wuhan, and a 52-year-old Wuhan woman, who arrived in the city-state on Tuesday.

Despite the spread of the disease globally, Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad said that the government did not plan to ban China tourists from entering the country.

South Korea: South Korea confirmed its second case of the virus on Friday. She is reported to be well and in stable condition.

In the capital, Beijing, and also in Shanghai, officials have asked residents who return from affected areas to stay at home for 14 days to prevent the spread of the virus, local media report.

Authorities are waiting for test results of one further possible case.

It was unclear if his death was already counted in the official toll of 41, 39 of which were in the central Hubei province.

All arrivals from the rest of China - including Hong Kong and Macau - must fill out health declaration forms on arrival.

Hu Yinghai, deputy director-general of the Civil Affairs Department in Hubei province, where Wuhan is located, has made an appeal for masks and protective suits.

A Chinese national in his 50s, who had been in Wuhan, was also in stable condition in a Melbourne hospital after arriving from China on January 19, Victoria Health officials said.

United States: On Tuesday US health officials announced the country's first case, a man in his 30s living near Seattle.

Both were treated and are recovering.

Interviewing patients, determining their symptoms and investigating whether they've visited the place where the virus originated are all key components in determining whether a patient has coronavirus. Queensland's Chief Health Officer Dr Jeannette Young says coronavirus poses a "serious threat" in the state.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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