China has stepped up its response to a new coronavirus outbreak that has killed 26 people and infected at least 830, placing restrictions on 10 cities in the province at the centre of the outbreak.
More than 20.5 million people are living in the cities affected, some of which have suspended public transport amid fears that the transmission rate will accelerate as hundreds of millions of Chinese travel for the Lunar New Year.
Health authorities around the world are taking action to prevent a global pandemic, with cases reported in Japan, Thailand, South Korea and the United States.
The World Health Organization (WHO) has acknowledged that the respiratory illness is an emergency in China but said it is too early to declare a global health emergency.
Here are the latest updates:
Shanghai’s Disneyland resort will be closed from Saturday to help prevent the spread of the virus, the theme parks’s operator said.
“In response to the prevention and control of the disease outbreak and in order to ensure the health and safety of our guests and Casts, Shanghai Disney Resort is temporarily closing Shanghai Disneyland, Disneytown,” it said on its website.
“We will continue to carefully monitor the situation and … announce the reopening date upon confirmation.”
China is on a seven-day Lunar New Year holiday starting Friday, a period when Shanghai Disney park would usually be packed with tourists.
AirAsia, one of the leading regional airlines in Asia, cancelled on Friday all flights to and from the city of Wuhan, following the Chinese government’s decision to put the city under lockdown.
“The move is meant to assist in controlling the current Wuhan novel coronavirus outbreak situation and comply with Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC) requirements,” the airline said in a statement.
According to Reuters, at least 10 cities around Wuhan have also been placed on lockdown, as the government attempts to stop the spread of the disease.
Meanwhile, Shanghai Disneyland also announced that it is temporarily suspending operations over concerns of the virus.
The number of cases of patients infected with the new coronavirus as of January 23 has gone up to 830, while the death toll from the virus has risen to 26, the National Health Commission announced on Friday.
The virus originated in the central Chinese city of Wuhan in Hubei late last year and has spread to other Chinese cities including Beijing and Shanghai, as well as the United States, Thailand, South Korea and Japan.
Earlier on Friday, Japan confirmed a second case of coronavirus.
Meanwhile, another city near Wuhan halted transport on Friday and closed its river bridge as the country escalates efforts to contain the disease.
Huangshi city in Hubei province announced that transport routes and a ferry terminal was shut down starting at 0200 GMT on Friday.
In all, at least 10 cities have already been ordered on lockdown.
Singapore’s prime minister said on Friday that the city-state was well prepared to tackle the Wuhan coronavirus, adding that it did not appear to be as deadly as the 2003 Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) pandemic.
On Thursday, Singapore confirmed its first case of the coronavirus strain, which originated in China, and said another case has preliminarily tested positive.
Singapore suffered 33 deaths due to SARS, making it one of the worst hit countries outside China.
“We are well prepared, because we have been gearing up for such a situation ever since we dealt with SARS in 2003,” Lee Hsien Loong said in an annual Chinese New Year speech.
“MOH (Ministry of Health) has now activated plans to counter the spread of the virus, which so far does not appear to be as deadly as SARS was.”
Japan has confirmed a second case of infection by the new coronavirus from China, the health ministry said on Friday.
The infection was confirmed in a man in his 40s who lives in Wuhan – the Chinese city at the centre of the outbreak – and travelled to Japan, the health ministry said in a statement.
The man, who arrived in Japan on Sunday, is currently hospitalised, the ministry said.
South Korea also confirmed on Friday the second case of coronavirus that originated from China, according to the country’s Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (KCDC).
Read all previous updates here.
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