Virus deaths in China rise to 361, exceeding SARS mainland toll

Andrew Cummings
February 3, 2020

More than 300 people have died in China from the new virus in less than two months and over 13,800 cases have been confirmed as of Sunday by the World Health Organization (WHO). The US has already declared a public health emergency, introducing a mandatory quarantine for citizens arriving from Hubei province and barring foreign nationals who have visited China within the past 14 days from entry.

A 44-year-old man who reportedly died of the coronavirus in the Philippines on February 1 became the first confirmed death outside China, according to the World Health Organization's local office on February 2.

An outline of the executive order released later on Sunday also stated that those who travelled from other countries but had been to China and the two semi-autonomous territories within the last 14 days would also be barred from entering the Philippines.

The outbreak of SARS, or severe acute respiratory syndrome, killed 349 in mainland China and 774 worldwide. Russian Federation said on Monday that it will start evacuating its citizens this week even as the United States pulled out its citizens last week.

More than 250 people from 30 countries arrived in France on Sunday after being flown out of Wuhan, the center of the outbreak, in the latest evacuation of foreign nationals from the locked-down city.

The Huoshenshan Hospital is one of two hospitals that Wuhan city officials began constructing in the wake of the virus outbreak. Forty-one of the deaths were reported in the provincial capital of Wuhan, where a now-closed seafood and animal market is believed to be where the virus emerged from.

Stock markets in Shanghai and Shenzhen plunged by almost nine percent on Monday morning as investors returned from a Lunar New Year holiday that had been extended to stop people travelling around China.

Hong Kong confirmed a new case of the coronavirus, bringing the total number of cases in the country to 15.

In Wuhan, where there are the most cases of any city, authorities announced plans to quarantine all suspected patients and those known to have been in close contact with a confirmed case.

They will discuss a joint response, German Health Minister Jens Spahn said on Sunday.

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte approved a ban on the entry of all non-citizens from China on Sunday. Chinese state media has been live broadcasting the construction of a second makeshift hospital in the city, the Leishenshan Hospital, which is expected to be in operation by Wednesday, the Bangkok Post reported.

The holiday, which was scheduled to end on Friday, was extended by three days to give authorities more time to deal with the crisis.

Travellers wear face masks at the West Kowloon train station in Hong Kong.

Since it first appeared in the city in China's central Hubei province, some 14,500 people have been infected with the virus, which can cause fever and breathing difficulties.

She complained that prices of face masks had risen sharply in the last few days, and is anxious that pharmacies might run out.

Security guard Du Guiliang, 47, said he would be starting back at work in Beijing on Sunday, after returning from northeast Liaoning province.

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