Published: Sun, January 26, 2020
Sci-tech | By Patricia Wade

Virus death toll in China rises to 56 with nearly 2000 cases

Virus death toll in China rises to 56 with nearly 2000 cases

A new viral illness being watched with a wary eye around the globe accelerated its spread in China on Sunday with 56 deaths so far, while the U.S. Consulate in the city at the epicenter announced it will evacuate its personnel and some private citizens aboard a charter flight.

India on Sunday said it is examining "all options" in consultations with the Chinese government to address the concerns of over 250 stranded Indians, including students, in Wuhan, the epicentre of the fast spreading coronavirus.

"The situation of how the epidemic develops is still not entirely in our control".

55 people have died of coronavirus in China since the disease began to spread, with president Xi Jinping warning of a "grave situation".

The outbreak has overshadowed the start of the Lunar New Year, which is typically a festive time of year, with public events cancelled and many tourist sites shut.

The latest figures reported Sunday morning cover the previous 24 hours and mark an increase of 15 deaths and 688 cases for a total of 1,975 infections.

The respiratory contagion, which has so far claimed 56 lives and sickened almost 1,600, have been reported in Beijing, Shanghai, Macau, Hong Kong and Taiwan, and has reached other countries like Japan, South Korea, Thailand, Singapore, Vietnam, the United States and Canada.

Cases have been confirmed in Japan, Taiwan, Nepal, Thailand, Vietnam, Singapore, Australia, the United States, and France.

The efforts are to minimize the number of severe cases and deaths in the outbreak of pneumonia caused by the novel coronavirus.

On the eastern outskirts of Wuhan, police manning a roadblock turned away a handful of vehicles trying to exit the city.

Canada on Saturday declared its first "presumptive" confirmed case of the virus.

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A notice from the embassy in Beijing on Sunday said there would be limited capacity to transport US citizens on the flight that will proceed directly to San Francisco. He said officials had been working on such preparations through the weekend.

China Association of Travel Services has told travel agencies to halt all group tours, as millions of people traveling during the holiday have helped fueled the spread of the outbreak - both inside the country and elsewhere.

The National Health Commission also ordered nationwide measures to detect and isolate people carrying the virus on planes, trains and buses across the country. That will extend to all schools in the capital from kindergartens to universities.

Hong Kong Disneyland and the city's Ocean Park theme park were closed on Sunday.

The country's most important celebration has been all but canceled for at least 56 million people as authorities expanded travel bans across central Hubei province to try and contain the spread of the virus.

The city will assign 6,000 taxis to neighborhoods, under the management of resident committees, to help people get around if they need to, China Daily said.

In a sign of the growing strain on Wuhan's health care system, the official Xinhua News Agency reported that the city planned to build a second makeshift hospital with about 1,000 beds. The facility will be a prefabricated structure on a 25,000- square-meter (270,000-square-foot) lot, slated for completion February 3.

The China Global Television Network shared the news in a tweet and said the doctor who had died was 62-year-old Liang Wudong.

At a media briefing on Friday, Ontario's chief medical officer of health said that, unlike SARS, when China tried to hide the extent of the outbreak, hampering the global response, Canada is prepared in the likely event that the coronavirus comes to this country.

It is from the coronavirus family, which includes SARS and the common cold, and is named 2019-nCoV.

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