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25 dead, 800 infected as China locks down five cities over Coronavirus

Medical workers in hazmat suits at Wuhan Union Hospital. China Daily

The death toll from the novel coronavirus, first discovered in China’s Wuhan province has risen to 25 when an 80-year-old man died in Hebei province, near the capital Beijing, on Wednesday.

It is the first confirmed death outside Hubei province, in central China while the numbers affected had increased to more than 800.

The disease has also spread to Hong Kong, Macao, Japan, South Korea, the United States, Thailand, Singapore and Vietnam while six patients have been tested for the virus un the United Kingdom.

The World Health Organization declined to declare a global health emergency Thursday, saying it’s too early. It cited Chinese efforts to prevent transmission and the limited number of cases recorded abroad as its reasons for not declaring the outbreak a public health emergency of international concerns.

The restrictions on train and other forms of travel will apply to tens of millions of people and come just days before the Lunar New Year holiday, when hundreds of millions of people travel around and out of the country.

The Chinese authorities on Thursday morning closed off Wuhan by canceling flights and trains leaving the city, and suspending buses, subways and ferries within it. Late on Thursday, the local authorities also announced that they would suspend for-hire vehicles and limit taxis, beginning at noon on Friday.

In Cambodia, health ministry officials, speaking on conditions of anonymity said that health officials stationed at the three international airports and border entry points near Thailand have been instructed to step up vigilance during surveillance of incoming travelers.

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