Economy

Hong Kong records first virus death

A newly-built hospital in Wuhan, the epicenter of the novel coronavirus outbreak in China, began accepting patients infected with the virus on Tuesday.

The national death toll reached 361, exceeding the 349 mainland fatalities from the Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) outbreak of 2002-03.

Chinese scientists said they have more evidence the virus originated in bats.

Sources told PA news agency the United Kingdom would continue to follow the advice of the World Health Organisation (WHO), which does not advocate such bans.

China's Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying condemned the U.S. for not providing "any substantial help" to China and making a fuss about the virus outbreak. Additionally, health officials said 2,345 of the new infections were in Hubei, bringing the total in the hard-hit province to 13,522.

Individuals who have traveled from an worldwide destination and have visited or passed through mainland China are permitted to fly into 11 airports in the United States: Los Angeles global, San Francisco worldwide, New York-JFK, Chicago O'Hare, Atlanta Hartsfield-Jackson, Daniel K. Inouye global Airport in Honolulu, Seattle-Tacoma worldwide Airport, Dallas/Fort Worth in Dallas, DTW Detroit, Newark Airport in New Jersey and Washington Dulles in Virginia.

The Asian financial center has confirmed 17 cases of the virus and its public hospital network is struggling to cope with a deluge of patients and measures to contain the epidemic.

About 1,400 military medics will treat patients at the hospital, dubbed "Fire God Mountain", according to state media.

A second hospital with 1,500 beds is under construction.

The news comes as 240 Australian citizens and residents are being quarantined on Christmas Island, having been evacuated from Wuhan on a charter flight organised by the Morrison Government.

Leading Chinese epidemiologist Zhong Nanshan said additional hospital space was crucial to stopping the spread of new infections.

One man, Fang Bin, said he saw wards so crowded during a visit to the city's No. 5 Hospital on Saturday that some patients were forced to sit on the ground for lack of seating.

The latest coronavirus epidemic has rekindled memories of the 2003 Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) which killed almost 300 people in the city.

In a worrying signal about the virus already spreading in significant numbers to other parts of China, the eastern industrial city of Wenzhou was on Sunday placed under a similar lockdown to Wuhan.

The first person to die overseas from the virus was a 44-year-old man from Wuhan who travelled to the Philippines, the World Health Organization said.

China has struggled to maintain supplies of masks to filter out the virus, along with protective suits and other key articles, as it seeks to enforce temperature checks at homes, offices, shops and restaurants, require masks be worn in public and keep more than 50 million people from leaving home in Wuhan and neighbouring cities.

The US, Australia, New Zealand and Israel have banned foreign nationals from visiting if they have been in China recently, and they have also warned their own citizens against travelling there.



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