Published: Wed, February 12, 2020
Sci-tech | By Patricia Wade

Coronavirus death toll soars to 492 worldwide as China expands quarantine zones

Coronavirus death toll soars to 492 worldwide as China expands quarantine zones

The first coronavirus death has been reported in Hong Kong as the total number of people infected by the illness in China surpassed 20,000.

Lam criticized the strike and said the government was doing all it could to limit the flow of people across the border.

News of the man's death follows Chinese health officials announcing on Tuesday that the number of deaths on the mainland connected to the coronavirus increased by 64 from the day prior, raising the death toll nationwide to 425 as the number of confirmed infections surpassed 20,000.

Hong Kong today became the second place outside mainland China to report the death of a coronavirus patient.

The Hong Kong death took to 427 the toll from the virus, including a man who died in the Philippines last week after visiting Wuhan, the central Chinese city at the epicentre of the outbreak.

The ship's captain said Hong Kong's health authorities notified the ship about the passenger's infection on Saturday, six days after he got off the ship after not being caught on thermal screening, according to a recording of the announcement tweeted by a passenger. The authority said, the strike was having a serious impact. Australia sent hundreds of evacuees from Wuhan to an island in the Indian Ocean, while Japan began screening some 3,700 passengers and crew aboard a cruise liner held in quarantine at the port of Yokohama, after a Hong Kong passenger who sailed on the vessel last month tested positive.

The head of the World Health Organization said Monday in Geneva that it was working with Google to ensure that searches about the new virus turned up information from the United Nations health agency first, part of efforts to fight "rumors and misinformation" about the outbreak.

He said the increase in Chinese cases recently can be partly attributed to the fact that Chinese officials expanded their search to include milder cases, not only people with pneumonia.

The WHO has said the outbreak does not yet constitute a "pandemic".

As examples of anti-Asian discrimination mount, U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres appealed for "international solidarity" and support for China and other countries hurt by the virus.

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But the Korea Centres for Disease Control and Prevention said it was too early to conclude whether the patient contracted the virus while in Thailand.

Cases of the new coronavirus have been confirmed in 27 countries and regions besides mainland China.

More than 28,000 people are now known to be infected nationwide in the outbreak that has spiralled into a global health emergency.

Chinese-ruled Hong Kong, rocked by months of sometimes violent anti-China protests, announced the closure of four more border crossings with mainland China, leaving just three open. Two are motorcycle taxi drivers who had driven for Chinese tourists. The cases are concerning because they suggest the virus can spread more easily between people than has been suspected.

The virus is taking an increasing economic toll, shutting down businesses, curbing worldwide travel and impacting production lines of major global brands.

It marked the second instance of person-to-person spread of the virus in the United States after another such case was reported last week in IL.

A 1,000-bed hospital built in eight days to treat people with the virus in Wuhan was due to receive its first patients yesterday, state media said.

A day after accusing Washington of scaremongering, Beijing said it would welcome assistance from the United States to fight the outbreak.

The government in Beijing nevertheless hit out at the United States for sparking "panic" with its response to the coronavirus, including a ban on foreigners who have recently been to China. A 1,500-bed hospital also specially built opens in days.

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