Article image China virus toll spikes despite massive lockdown

China shuts down more travel due to virus

There is "not a high level of concern" for the statewide spread of coronavirus, said Susan Ringer-Cerniglia of the Washtenaw County Health Department, though health officials do not now know "how efficiently" the virus travels.

The death toll rose Monday when the southern island province of Hainan in the South China Sea reported its first fatality, an 80-year-old woman whose family arrived from Wuhan on January 17.

A US-bound flight is scheduled to leave Wuhan on Tuesday with consular staff and some American citizens.

China will make arrangements accordingly and provide assistance and facilitation to the US side in line with worldwide practice and China's relevant provisions on epidemic prevention, said Hua.

According to the National Health Commission, there were 2,744 confirmed cases of pneumonia caused by the coronavirus, also known as 2019-nCoV, including 461 in critical condition.

According to health officials, all cases are reported in people who traveled to Wuhan, China, the epicenter of the outbreak.

China's capital Beijing will delay reopening the city's kindergartens, schools and universities, state-owned China National Radio (CNR) said on its official page on the microblogging website Weibo on Sunday. The former imperial palace in Beijing closed Friday until further notice and other major tourist sites also have shut down, including two of Hong Kong's most popular tourist attractions, Hong Kong Disneyland and Ocean Park.

Beijing has made a decision to delay the start of classes after the Lunar New Year holiday ends, the official Beijing Daily reported on its website.

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The city of Wuhan, where the virus originated in a seafood market, is on near-total quarantine, with most forms of transport cancelled and roads in and out of the city under constant monitoring.

China cut off trains, planes and other links to the city January 22, and has steadily expanded the lockdown to 16 surrounding cities with a combined population of more than 50 million. There are 2,744 infections now being observed in China.

Several cities responded, with new school terms delayed in Beijing until further notice, and Shanghai postponing until February 17.

France's Health Minister Agnes Buzyn said on Sunday that France will fly its citizens back from Wuhan to France "in the middle of next week". Shoppers, also wearing masks, cheered to him, "Happy New Year!"

On the third patient, a 54-year-old Korean man who had shown no signs of illness when he arrived from China last week, the public safety agency said he ran into 74 people, although none have shown symptoms of the coronavirus so far.

But then in 2014, the World Health Organization met harsh criticism for dragging its feet and downplaying the severity of the Ebola epidemic that ravaged three west Africa countries, claiming more than 11,300 lives by the time it ended in 2016.

China's National Health Commission Minister Ma Xiaowei said the incubation period for the virus can range from one to 14 days, during which infection can occur, which was not the case with Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS).

Wuhan is building two makeshift hospitals with about 1,000 beds each to handle patients. The symptoms of the new coronavirus are typical of common cold or flu: fever, coughing, sneezing, difficulty breathing.

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