China coronavirus: Death toll rises as more cities shut down

Society

China has widened a lockdown in Hubei province – the centre of the coronavirus outbreak – as the death toll climbed to 26.
The travel restrictions will affect at least 20 million people across 10 cities, including the capital Wuhan, where the virus emerged.

On Thursday, a coronavirus patient died in nearby Hebei province – making it the first death outside Hubei.

Another death was later confirmed in north-east Heilongjiang province.

The north-eastern area borders Russia and is more than 2,000 kilometres (1,200 miles) from Wuhan.
Nationally, there are currently 830 confirmed cases of patients infected with the virus.

The lockdown comes on the eve of Lunar New Year – one of the most important dates in the Chinese calendar, when millions of people travel home.

In Shanghai, the Disney Resort said it was “temporarily closing in response to the prevention and control of the disease outbreak”.
Travel restrictions vary from city to city – though many places have suspended transport services.

In Wuhan, all bus, subway and ferry services have been suspended and all outbound planes and trains cancelled.
Residents have been advised not to leave, and roadblocks have been reported.

Ezhou, a smaller city in Hubei, shut its railway station. The city of Enshi has suspended all bus services.
But the impact of the coronavirus is not limited to Hubei province. Authorities have also cancelled major public events in other parts of the country, including:

Shut down of the Forbidden City, Beijing’s palace complex
Cancellation of traditional temple fairs in Beijing
Cancellation of an international carnival in Hong Kong
Cancellation of annual football tournament in Hong Kong
Cancellation of all public Lunar New Year celebrations in Macau

The virus has spread across China and to countries as far as Japan, Thailand and the US.

Earlier information from China’s National Health Commission, when the death toll was 17, said the youngest person who died from the virus was 48 and the oldest was 89.

Most victims were elderly and suffered from other chronic diseases including Parkinson’s and diabetes.

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