China coronavirus: Death toll continues to rise as disease spreads
CHINA’S Health officials in say 15 more people have died from a coronavirus in the province of Hubei, where the outbreak first started.
There are currently 1,287 confirmed cases in China, 41 of whom have died.
It comes as China begins celebrations of the Lunar New Year, one of the most important dates in its calendar.
Many events have been cancelled and a new hospital is being built in the city of Wuhan.
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One of the dead was a doctor at a hospital in Hubei, China Global Television Network reported. 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.
Chinese media outlets said a new 1,000-bed hospital being built to deal with the crisis could be ready within six days. The Changjiang Daily said the project is meant to solve the shortage of existing medical resources and it will not cost much because it will be prefabricated buildings
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. Wuhan is effectively on lockdown: all bus, metro, and ferry services have been suspended, and all outbound planes and trains canceled 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.
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 canceled 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, and all public Lunar New Year celebrations in Macau. Shanghai’s Disney Resort is temporarily closing, as are McDonald’s restaurants in five cities. On Thursday, a coronavirus patient died in northern Hebei province – making it the first death outside Hubei. Another death was later confirmed in north-east Heilongjiang province, more than 2,000km (1,200 miles) from Wuhan.
Earlier, when the death toll was 17, information from China’s National Health Commission said the youngest person who died from the virus was 48 and the oldest was 89. But 15 of the 17 were over 60, and more than half suffered from other chronic diseases including Parkinson’s and diabetes. Just four were women.