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The death toll from coronavirus is close to 500, millions confined

HANGZHOU: Millions more have been ordered to remain inside while China struggles to stop the spread of a new virus that authorities said Wednesday that it has killed nearly 500 people.
With more than 24,000 cases in China, an increasing number of cities have imposed a series of restrictions in recent days away from the central province of Hubei, the epicenter of the outbreak, as authorities struggle to contain the virus.
Global concerns have increased as cases continue to spread abroad, with 10 people testing positive for the virus in a quarantined ship off the coast of Japan.
Italy announced that passengers on all international flights would be scanned for fever.
Vietnam, which detected 10 cases, joined a growing list of countries banning arrivals from China, and was establishing field hospitals with thousands of beds to handle a potential increase in coronavirus patients in the country.
And Hong Kong, which reported its first coronavirus death this week, said anyone arriving from the continent will face a mandatory two-week quarantine starting on Saturday.
In Hangzhou, about 175 kilometers (110 miles) southwest of Shanghai, fences blocked the streets near the headquarters of the Chinese tech giant Alibaba, one of the world’s most valuable companies, while a fighter jet was circling overhead. .
The building seemed to be closed, while deliverymen entered and left fenced residential areas to leave groceries. Many people were also seen leaving.
The company is based in one of three Hangzhou districts subject to new restrictions that allow only one person per household to leave every two days to buy necessities.
“Please don’t go out, don’t go out, don’t go out!” He issued a message on a speaker urging people to wear masks, wash their hands regularly and inform anyone from Hubei, reflecting a common fear that people in the province might infect others.
At least three other cities in Zhejiang Province – Taizhou, Wenzhou and parts of Ningbo – have imposed the same measures, affecting 18 million people.
Similar restrictions have been established in places as far away as Heilongjiang Province, on the border with Russia, and in the central city of Zhumadian, authorities said that one person would be allowed to leave each home only every five days.
The residents of the city of seven million were also offered cash rewards for informing the people of neighboring Hubei who were in the city.
It is believed that the disease arose in December in a Wuhan market that sold wild animals and spread rapidly as people traveled during the Lunar New Year holidays in January.
The Ministry of Public Security said that “political security” was the “top priority” to face the epidemic.
“We must take strict precautions and take strong measures against all kinds of disruptive activities of hostile forces,” said the ministry secretary, Zhao Kezhi, in an information session.
The statement came days after senior management admitted “deficiencies” in the management of the outbreak, which is why the authorities have been criticized for retaining information.
The death toll steadily increased, reaching 490 in China on Wednesday after Hubei reported that 65 more people had died.
Most of the deaths have been in the province and the authorities have indicated that the mortality rate, about two percent, is below the SARS mortality rate, which killed about 800 people in 2002-2003.
Two deaths have been reported outside the continent, in Hong Kong and the Philippines.
The outbreak has led the World Health Organization (WHO) to declare a global health emergency, several governments to institute travel restrictions and airlines to suspend flights to and from China.
United and American Airlines said Wednesday that they added Hong Kong to their flight suspensions in China.
China has reacted angrily against travel bans, noting that WHO does not advise imposing them.
He accused the United States of spreading “panic” in his response to the coronavirus, including his ban on Chinese travelers, and on Wednesday he took another blow.
“Panic is more deadly and contagious than any virus,” Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said at a press conference.
WHO said Tuesday that the dramatic measures taken by China offered the opportunity to stop the transmission.
The head of the WHO, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, said that the vast majority of cases are in China.
“That doesn’t mean it won’t get worse. But we sure have an opportunity to act,” he said.
Singapore, Malaysia and Thailand reported new infections not imported from China on Tuesday.
Semi-autonomous Hong Kong has closed all but two land crossings with the Chinese continent.



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