Coronavirus: China admits 'deficiencies' in response to virus

Daniel Fowler
February 4, 2020

The World Health Organization has declared the crisis a global health emergency, and the first foreign death from the virus was reported in the Philippines on Sunday.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) on Monday confirmed the second person-to-person transmission of novel coronavirus in the USA, marking the tenth and eleventh cases of the pneumonia-like illness in the country.

To curb the spread of the virus, Chinese officials started closing off travel to and from Wuhan on January 23. The death toll in China overtook that of the SARS outbreak from the early 2000s over the weekend. In total, around 150 people have been infected with the new virus outside China.

Canada was praised for not following the U.S.' example of enacting a travel ban in light of the coronavirus outbreak by a spokesperson for China's Ministry of Foreign Affairs on Monday.

Its medical facilities have been overwhelmed, and the government has been racing to build two new hospitals in extraordinarily quick timeframes.

Hospital are on high alert and are looking out for coronavirus symptoms. It opened its doors Monday to patients.

Fifty patients arrived at the military-run facility on Tuesday, the state-backed China Daily reported, with images showing workers in protective suits pushing people in wheelchairs up a ramp and into the pre-fabricated structure.

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Reopening of schools was also delayed to keep the virus from spreading further in Hubei, where the 1,000-bed hospital in the provincial capital Wuhan was completed in just 10 days.

Roads in Wenzhou, 800 kilometres (500 miles) to the east, were closed and its nine million people were ordered to stay indoors.

The trading and manufacturing center of Wenzhou, with almost 10 million people in coastal Zhejiang province, confined people to their homes, allowing only one family member to venture out every other day to buy necessary supplies.

The Lunar New Year holiday was originally scheduled to end last Friday but was extended by three days to give authorities more time to deal with the crisis. More than 17,400 cases have been confirmed worldwide, with the majority in China.

Chinese scientists said they have more evidence the virus, which was first detected in Wuhan in December, likely originated in bats. In both cases, the individual tested positive for the virus after the person's spouse returned from China. "It is really risky", the minister said.

Hong Kong has recorded 15 cases of the virus and has cut flights and train and bus connections to the mainland, but a push is growing for it to close the border completely.

The two cases occurred in a husband and wife in California, said Nancy Messonnier, the director of the National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases, which is a part of the CDC, during a Monday telebriefing.

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