Coronavirus outbreak: Hong Kong declares virus emergency as 41 die in China

Andrew Cummings
January 25, 2020

The outbreak began in the city in central China and has spread nationwide and overseas, fueled by millions of people travelling during the country's biggest holiday.

Lam said all official visits to the mainland and official Chinese New Year celebrations would also be halted immediately.

As of Saturday, nearly 1,300 people have been infected across China, the bulk of them in and around Wuhan.

A doctor treating victims infected with the coronavirus in the Chinese city of Wuhan has died from the virus amid signs that the area's health system is struggling to cope with the outbreak.

"I hereby urge all citizens stay united to fight against the epidemic to protect all Hong Kong people's health and safety", Ms Lam said.

Three people have been confirmed to have the Wuhan coronavirus here, Malaysian Health Minister Dzulkefly Ahmad said on Saturday (Jan 25), marking the first cases of the potentially deadly disease in Malaysia.

One woman has travelled to multiple hospitals seeking urgent treatment for her ill husband, but was refused from each one and left stranded outside and with no option but to watch while he coughed up blood.

Once the virus' genome was sequenced and released, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and other agencies around the world were able to develop real-time diagnostic tests. All the cases outside China had a recent travel history to China prior onset, except in Vietnam.

Medical authorities in Israel believe the three do not have the coronavirus but are taking every precaution as they appear to have flu-like symptoms and at least some of them recently came back from China, Channel 12 reported on Saturday.

A spokesperson for the U.S. Embassy in Beijing said that on Thursday, the State Department had ordered the departure of family members and all U.S. government employees at its Wuhan consulate, but declined to comment on the report that other U.S. citizens would be evacuated from the city. The island's capital city, Haikou, said visitors from Wuhan would be placed under 14-day quarantine in a hotel.

The first local case of coronavirus has been confirmed in Victoria, and health authorities warn it's "highly likely" that there will be other cases in Australia.

In Wuhan, the city of around 11 million people, 6,000 taxis will be assigned to different neighbourhoods to help people get around if they need to, the the English-language China Daily newspaper said.

China's President Xi Jinping, saying the country is facing a grave situation, held a politburo meeting on measures to fight the outbreak, state television reported on Saturday.

The first confirmed cases of 2019-nCoV in Europe are not unexpected.

Japan confirmed a third case, a Chinese tourist in her 30s who had arrived from Wuhan on Jan 18.

Health authorities in the city of Hechi in Guangxi province said that a 2-year-old girl from Wuhan had been diagnosed with the illness after arriving in the city. The government said that surveillance has been increased at the airport "and suspicious patients entering Nepal are being monitored".

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. He was tested after his return earlier this week, and the virus was confirmed. Hong Kong has confirmed five cases of the new illness.

Other reports by iNewsToday