China coronavirus death toll rises as more cities shut down


WUHAN:     China has widened a lockdown in Hubei province – the centre of the coronavirus outbreak – as the death toll climbed to 26.
At least 10 cities in the central Chinese province, which has a population of 60 million, have travel restrictions in force. A coronavirus patient died in nearby Hebei province – making it the first death outside Hubei. Another death was later confirmed in north-east Heilongjiang province.
The north-eastern area borders Russia and is more than 2,000 kilometres (1,200 miles) from Wuhan. Nationally, there are currently 830 confirmed cases of patients infected with the virus.
The lockdown comes on the eve of Lunar New Year – one of the most important dates in the Chinese calendar, when millions of people travel home. In Shanghai, the Disney Resort said it was “temporarily closing in response to the prevention and control of the disease outbreak”.
Travel restrictions vary from city to city – though many cities have suspended transport services.
In Wuhan, the capital of Hubei – and the place where the virus emerged – all bus, subway and ferry services have been suspended and all outbound planes and trains cancelled.
Residents have been advised not to leave, and roadblocks have been reported. Ezhou, a smaller city in Hubei, shut its railway station. The city of Enshi has suspended all bus services. But the impact of the coronavirus is not limited to Hubei province. Authorities have also cancelled major public events in other parts of the country, including: