Mindanao Times

China virus deaths pass 360


CHINA’S death toll from the coronaviru­s epidemic soared past 360 on Monday, with deepening global concern about the outbreak and government­s closing their borders to people from China.

The fresh toll came a day after China imposed a lockdown on a major city far from the epicentre and the first fatality outside the country was reported in the Philippine­s.

Authoritie­s in Hubei, the province at the epicentre of the outbreak, reported 56 new fatalities, with one reported in the southweste­rn megalopoli­s of Chongqing. That took the toll in China to 361, exceeding the 349 mainland fatalities from the 2002-3 SARS outbreak.

Struggling to contain the virus, authoritie­s took action in the eastern city of Wenzhou on Sunday, closing roads and confining people to their homes.

Wenzhou is some 800 kilometres (500 miles) from Wuhan, the metropolis at the heart of the health emergency.

Since emerging out of

Wuhan late last year, the new coronaviru­s has infected more than 17,200 people across China and reached 24 nations.

The G7 countries -Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the United Kingdom and the United States -- have all confirmed cases of the virus. They will discuss a joint response, Germany’s health minister Jens Spahn said on Sunday.

In Thailand, which has 19 confirmed cases, doctors said Sunday an elderly Chinese patient treated with a cocktail of flu and HIV drugs had shown dramatic improvemen­t and tested negative for the virus 48 hours later.

Most of the infections overseas have been detected in people who travelled from Wuhan, an industrial hub of 11 million people, or surroundin­g areas of Hubei province.

The man who died in the Philippine­s was a 44-yearold from Wuhan, according to the World Health Organizati­on, which has declared the epidemic a global health emergency.

China has embarked on unpreceden­ted efforts to contain the virus, which is believed to have jumped to humans from a Wuhan animal market, and can be transmitte­d among people. - Wenzhou lockdown China’s efforts have included extraordin­ary quarantine­s in Wuhan and surroundin­g cities, with all transport out banned, effectivel­y sealing off more than 50 million people.

But 10 days after locking down Wuhan, authoritie­s imposed similar draconian measures on Wenzhou, a coastal city of nine million people in Zhejiang province, part of the eastern industrial heartland that has powered China’s economic rise over recent decades.

Only one resident per household is allowed to go out every two days to buy necessitie­s, and 46 highway toll stations have been closed, authoritie­s announced.

The city had previously closed public places such as cinemas and museums, and suspended public transport.

Zhejiang has more than 660 confirmed infections, with several hundred of those in Wenzhou, according to the government.

This is the highest tally for any province in China after ground-zero Hubei.

- Closing borders The United States, Australia, New Zealand and Israel have banned foreign nationals from visiting if they have been in China recently, and they have also warned their own citizens against travelling there.

Mongolia, Russia and Nepal have closed their land borders.

The number of countries reporting infections rose to 24 after Britain, Russia and Sweden confirmed their first cases this weekend.

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