Health officials in China say 15 more people have died from a corona virus bringing the total of deaths to 41 of whom are in the province of Hubei, where the outbreak first started.
It comes as China begins celebrations of the Lunar New Year, one of the most important dates in its calendar with confirmed cases in China currently at 1,287.
One of the dead was a doctor at a hospital in Hubei, China Global Television Network reported with many of the events been cancelled and a new hospital is being built in the city of Wuhan to tackle the outbreak. Chinese media outlets said a new 1,000-bed hospital being built to deal with the crisis could be ready within six days.
The project will “solve the shortage of existing medical resources” and would be “built fast [and] not cost much… because it will be prefabricated buildings”, the Changjiang Daily said.
Pharmacies in Wuhan have begun to run out of supplies and hospitals have been filled with nervous members of the public.
Symptoms seem to start with a fever, followed by a dry cough and then, after a week, leads to shortness of breath and some patients needing hospital treatment. About a quarter of cases are thought to be severe.
The virus has also now spread to Europe, with three cases confirmed in France. The first case was in Bordeaux, while the other two were in the Paris area, the French health minister said on Friday night.
And one case has been confirmed in Australia.
What restrictions are in place in Hubei?
Travel restrictions vary from city to city.
Wuhan is effectively on lock-down: all bus, metro 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. City officials in the capital, Beijing, and Shanghai have asked residents who return from affected areas to stay at home for 14 days to prevent the spread of the virus, local media report.
Authorities have also shut major tourist sites including the Forbidden City in Beijing and a section of the Great Wall, and cancelled major public events in other parts of the country, including: Traditional temple fairs in Beijing
An international carnival in Hong Kong
Hong Kong’s annual football tournament
All public Lunar New Year celebrations in Macau
Shanghai’s Disney Resort is temporarily closing, as are McDonald’s restaurants in five cities.
Meanwhile the United Kingdom Officials says they are tracing as many as 2,000 visitors who have flown in to the UK from the Chinese city of Wuhan, where the corona virus first broke out.
Tests on 14 people in the UK have come back negative, Chief Medical Officer for England Prof Chris Whitty said there is a “fair chance” Britain will see cases of the new virus, which has killed over 40 people.
Health Secretary Matt Hancock said the risk to the public “remains low” in the UK.
It came after Public Health England said that, while cases of the new virus in the UK are “highly likely”, most of those affected abroad by the virus were making a good recovery. (AFP)