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Death toll rises to 41 in China as coronavirus spreads to other parts of the world

The death toll from a newly-discovered coronavirus in China has risen to 41 on the day of the Lunar New Year.

Another 15 deaths in Hubei province, where the outbreak began, were announced on Saturday.

Health officials are struggling to contain the outbreak as millions of people travel for the Chinese new year, one of the most important events. Many festivities have been cancelled.




There are now more than 1,200 confirmed cases in China.

The virus has also spread to Europe, with three cases confirmed in France. The UK is investigating a number of suspected cases, with officials trying to trace around 2,000 people who have recently flown to the UK from Hubei province.

Australia has also confirmed several cases in Melbourne and Sydney, joining a handful of countries treating patients.



The coronavirus, previously unknown to science, causes severe acute respiratory infection with symptoms including a fever and cough. There is no specific cure or vaccine.

Symptoms seem to start with a fever, followed by a dry cough and then, after a week, lead to shortness of breath and some patients needing hospital treatment.

About a quarter of cases are thought to be severe.

Restrictions are imposed in many Chinese cities. Wuhan, where the outbreak began, is effectively on lockdown: all bus, underground 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.

Hong Kong’s leader, Carrie Lam, raised the alert level to the highest level of emergency on Saturday, and extended the school holiday period to keep schools closed for two more weeks.

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

Shanghai’s Disney Resort is temporarily closing, as are McDonald’s restaurants in five cities.


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