China has stepped up its response to a new coronavirus outbreak that has killed 41 people and infected at least 1,287 in the mainland as of Saturday, placing restrictions on 13 cities, including 12 in Hubei Province – the centre of the outbreak.
As of Saturday afternoon, Beijing has imposed an expanded ban, restricting travel of 56 million people, amid fears that the transmission rate will accelerate as hundreds of millions of Chinese travel for the Lunar New Year.
At least five cases are also reported in Hong Kong, two in Macau, and three cases in Taiwan.
Health authorities around the world are taking action to prevent a global pandemic, with cases reported in Japan (2), Thailand (5), South Korea (2), United States (2), Australia (1), France (3) Malaysia (3), Singapore (3), Nepal (1), and Vietnam (2).
According to Al Jazeera’s count there are a total of 1,321 confirmed coronavirus cases worldwide.
The World Health Organization (WHO) has acknowledged that the respiratory illness, which has been traced to the city of Wuhan, is an emergency in China. But WHO said it is too early to declare it a global health emergency.
Here are the latest updates:
Saturday, January 25
Doctor at hospital in China’s Hubei province dies from coronavirus – state media
A doctor at a hospital in China’s Hubei province, the centre of the coronavirus outbreak, has died from the virus, China Global Television Network reported in a social media post on Saturday.
Liang Wudong, a doctor at Hubei Xinhua Hospital who had been at the front line of the coronavirus outbreak in Wuhan city, died from the virus aged 62, it said.
It is unclear if his death is counted as among the 41 confirmed fatalities as of Saturday.
Nepali man studying in China infected with coronavirus
A Nepali man studying in China has been found infected with the new coronavirus, according to a Xinhua news report published on Saturday.
“It is the first confirmed case of infection from the deadly virus,” in Nepal, Dr. Hemanta Chandra Ojha, chief of Zoonotic and Other Communicable Disease Control Section at Epidemiology and Disease Control Division under the Ministry, told Xinhua.
The doctor said that the patient tested positive of the virus days after arriving in Nepal on January 5. The man reportedly visited a hospital on January 13 complaining about a respiratory problem.
Malaysia confirms three cases of coronavirus infection
Malaysia’s health ministry announced on Saturday that three people have been infected with the coronavirus.
Malaysian health officers were deployed at Kuala Lumpur International Airport in Sepang on Tuesday, as authorities increased measure against coronavirus [Mohd Rasfan/AFP]
The virus, which originated in the central Chinese city of Wuhan in Hubei province late last year, has spread to Chinese cities including Beijing and Shanghai, as well as the Thailand, South Korea, Japan, Malaysia, US, France and Australia.
Starbucks shuts shops, suspends delivery in China’s Hubei
Starbucks has closed all shops and suspended delivery services in China’s Hubei province for the week-long Lunar New Year holiday, where a coronavirus outbreak originated from its capital Wuhan has caused 41 deaths in China.
Starbucks said on Saturday that the move is out of “health concerns” for its customers and employees, according to a post on China’s twitter-like Weibo.
The central province of Hubei is home to nearly 60 million people.
Shanghai shuts down all cinemas during Lunar New Year: report
Shanghai has shut down all cinemas during the Lunar New Year holidays, which last until January 30, the Liberation Daily said on its online channel on Saturday.
The virus outbreak has already prompted seven Chinese films that were set to premiere during the country’s Lunar New Year holiday to postpone screenings, forgoing what is usually the best week of the year at the Chinese box office.
China has confirmed 1,287 cases of patients infected with the new coronavirus, with 41 deaths.
On Friday, thousands of people in Shanghai were seen lining up at pharmacies and drugstores to buy masks.
The virus originated in the central Chinese city of Wuhan in Hubei late last year and has spread to Chinese cities including Beijing and Shanghai, as well as the Thailand, South Korea, Japan, US, France and Australia.
Australia’s first coronavirus case confirmed in Victoria
Australian authorities on Saturday confirmed its first case of a new virus as thousands of people worldwide are treated for the deadly infection.
In a news conference in Melbourne, Victoria’s state Health Minister Jenny Mikakos said a Chinese man aged in his 50s who last week returned from China had contracted the newly identified coronavirus.
China’s city of Haikou to start centralised observation for all tourists from Hubei
The Chinese government announced on Saturday that the southern city of Haikou will begin a 14-day centralised medical observation for all tourists from Hubei province, the centre of the deadly coronavirus outbreak.
The government said that the order will start at noon, local time, on Saturday, January 25.
Earlier on Saturday, Beijing has announced that the death toll from the outbreak has reached 41, with confirmed cases increasing to 1,287.