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Home / World News / China’s fast-spreading virus kills 6, reaches 5 countries including Australia

China’s fast-spreading virus kills 6, reaches 5 countries including Australia

As many as 300 people have been infected, health authorities said Tuesday, adding that two more people died in Wuhan in the past 24 hours, pushing the toll up to six.

world Updated: Jan 21, 2020 20:08 IST
Sutirtho Patranobis
Sutirtho Patranobis
Hindustan Times, Beijing
Subway passengers wear protective masks in Beijing on January 21, 2020.
Subway passengers wear protective masks in Beijing on January 21, 2020.(AFP)

China on Tuesday tightened control on people exiting and entering Wuhan the central Chinese city at the core of the outbreak of the novel Coronavirus, which has killed six people, infected 300 and spread panic and anxiety ahead of the country’s biggest festival, the Lunar New Year (LNY).

As many as 300 people have been infected, health authorities said Tuesday, adding that two more people died in Wuhan in the past 24 hours, pushing the toll up to six.

Two cases were confirmed in Tianjin, a city neighbouring Beijing, and another 5 in the city of Chongqing, a megapolis of 30 million people.

Reports in the last 24 hours said the virus had spread across China. There are at least seven reported cases of the virus reaching Thailand, Japan, South Korea, Taiwan and Australia.

Authorities are now attempting to isolate the previously unknown virus in Wuhan, the capital of central China’s Hubei province and a transport and education hub.

The Wuhan municipal health commission has said local tourist groups had been banned from traveling outside of the city and vehicles entering and leaving will be subject to spot checks.

Local authorities will continue to exercise control over entry and exit into Huanan Seafood Wholesale Market, the suspected source of the novel coronavirus.

“Thirty-five stationary infrared thermometers and over 300 hand-held ones have been used to screen passengers with fevers at various transport terminals in Wuhan, including the airport, railway stations, bus stations and passenger piers,” official news agency Xinhua reported.

It added: “Passengers with fevers will be registered, provided masks and brochures about pneumonia and advised to see doctors. Ticket cancellations and changing will be free of charge for them, according to the municipal government”.

The Chinese foreign ministry said it wasn’t a complete ban on exiting or entering Wuhan city.

“What I just said is that at present, the local government in Wuhan has strengthened the control over the personnel entering and leaving Wuhan. I understand that some inspections are carried out when they leave and enter Wuhan, and there is not a complete ban on entry and exit,” ministry spokesperson, Geng Shuang, said Tuesday.

For Wuhan residents, this Lunar New Year will be a muted if not a dark one as celebrations to mark the new year eve on January 24, which attracts huge crowds, have been cancelled.

Questions are being raised whether the right steps were taken by the government – even by the state media.