China seals off more cities
China sealed off millions more people near the epicentre of a virus outbreak on Friday, shutting down public transport in an eighth city in an unprecedented quarantine effort as the death toll from the disease climbed to 25.
While the World Heath Organization held off on declaring a global emergency, despite confirmed cases in half a dozen other counties, China expanded a lockdown now covering some 26 million people and cancelled some Lunar New Year celebrations to prevent the disease spreading further.
The virus that emerged in the central city of Wuhan took eight more lives, the government said in its latest update, as the number of confirmed cases also leapt to 830.
The new virus has caused alarm because of its similarity to SARS (Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome), which killed hundreds of people across mainland China and Hong Kong in 2002-2003.
The WHO said China was in a state of emergency, but it stopped short of making a declaration that would have prompted greater international cooperation, including possible trade and travel restrictions.