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China extends lockdown to fight the virus

Filed on February 2, 2020 | Last updated on February 2, 2020 at 10.42 pm
China, extends, lockdown, fight, virus, coronavirus, epidemic,
A child wearing a mask is pictured in Beijing, China, as the country is hit by an outbreak of the new coronavirus.- Reuters

The events added to deepening concern about the potential for the virus to spread.

China imposed a lockdown on Sunday on a major city far from the epicentre of the coronavirus epidemic, as its death toll from the disease soared to 304 and the first fatality outside the country was reported in the Philippines.

The events added to deepening concern about the potential for the virus to spread, as governments around the world closed their borders to people from China.

Struggling to contain the virus, authorities took action in eastern city of Wenzhou on Sunday - some 800km from Wuhan, the metropolis at the heart of the health emergency - closing roads and confining people to their homes.

Since emerging out of Wuhan late last year, the coronavirus has infected nearly 14,500 people across China and reached 24 countries.

In Thailand, which has 19 confirmed cases, doctors on Sunday said an elderly Chinese patient treated with a cocktail of flu and HIV drugs had shown a dramatic improvement and tested negative for the virus 48 hours later.

Most of the infections overseas have been in people who had travelled from Wuhan, an industrial hub of 11 million people, or surrounding areas of Hubei province.

The man who died in the Philippines was a 44-year-old from Wuhan, according to the World Health Organisation, which has declared the epidemic a global health emergency.

China has embarked on unprecedented efforts to contain the virus, which is believed to have jumped to humans from a Wuhan animal market, and can be transmitted among people in a similar fashion to the flu. Those efforts have included extraordinary quarantines in Wuhan and surrounding cities, with all transport out banned, effectively sealing-off more than 50 million people. But 10 days after locking down Wuhan, authorities imposed similar measures on Wenzhou.

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