China shuts down transport, temples as virus death toll rises to 25

Wuhan was building a new 1,000-bed hospital to treat those infected...

Istanbul, Jale Akbar, İnteraz - 24 January 2020, 11:56

China stepped up measures to contain a virus which has killed 25 people and infected more than 800, with public transport suspensions in 10 cities, temples shutting, and the rapid construction of a new hospital to treat those infected.

 

The World Health Organisation (WHO) on Thursday declared the new coronavirus an emergency for China but stopped short of declaring the epidemic of international concern.

 

Health authorities fear the infection rate could accelerate over the Lunar New Year, when hundreds of millions of Chinese travel at home and abroad during week-long holidays, which began on Friday.

 

At the railway station in Wuhan, the few passengers foolhardy enough to return home to a city at the epicenter of the outbreak put on a brave face as they alighted the train.

 

“What choice do I have? It’s Chinese New Year. We have to see our family,” said a man named Hu, as he stepped off the train in Wuhan.

 

On a high-speed train that stopped in Wuhan station on Friday afternoon, about 10 passengers got off, but nobody boarded before the train resumed its journey.

 

“I’m not afraid. I trust the government. I need to be with my family,” said a passenger, dragging two large cases to the escalator at Wuhan station. He would not give his name.

 

Wuhan was building a new 1,000-bed hospital to treat those infected, with the aim of having it ready by Monday, the official Changjiang Daily reported on Friday.

 

The prefabricated buildings were being erected around a holiday complex originally intended for local workers, set in gardens by a lake on the outskirts of the city.

 

Non-fatal cases have also been detected in Thailand, Vietnam, Singapore, Japan, South Korea, Taiwan and the United States, prompting several airlines to suspend flights to and from Wuhan.

 

As of Thursday, there were 830 confirmed cases and 25 people had died, the National Health Commission. Most cases are in the central Chinese city of Wuhan, where the virus is believed to have originated in a market which traded in illegal wildlife.

 

Preliminary research suggested that in the most recent stage of its evolution, the Wuhan virus was passed on to humans from snakes.

 

Wuhan, a city of 11 million people, and neighboring Huanggang, a city of about 7 million people, were in virtual lockdown. Rail stations were largely shut, with few trains stopping in the city, flights were suspended and there were checkpoints on main roads in and out of the city.

 

The U.S. State Department warned travelers to exercise increased caution in China as airports worldwide stepped up the screening of passengers arriving from the country.

 

The World Health Organisation (WHO) on Thursday declared the new coronavirus an emergency for China but stopped short of declaring the epidemic of international concern.

 

Health authorities fear the infection rate could accelerate over the Lunar New Year, when hundreds of millions of Chinese travel at home and abroad during week-long holidays, which began on Friday.

 

At the railway station in Wuhan, the few passengers foolhardy enough to return home to a city at the epicenter of the outbreak put on a brave face as they alighted the train.

 

Reuters