Huanggang, a city of 6 million residents, is on a lockdown. University of Hong Kong virologist Guan Yi warns the new coronavirus outbreak could be ten times worse as the 2003 SARS epidemic. So far 17 deaths have been reported out of 583 confirmed cases, 571 in China and 12 in Thailand, Korea South, Japan, the United States, Hong Kong and Macau.
Beijing (AsiaNews) – As the coronavirus outbreak spreads from Wuhan to the rest of China and other parts of the world, Chinese authorities are taking more precautions.
As of this morning, Wuhan is under a quarantine and no one can leave or enter the city. The authorities also require people to wear face masks when in public places.
Even news presenters are wearing masks during their broadcast in studio or on location.
Since midnight, the authorities in Huanggang, a city of six million east of Wuhan, suspended the city’s bus and rail system, asking residents not to leave. Train stations in the nearby city of Ezhou were also locked down.
For their part, Wuhan authorities have come in for criticism over delays in taking action against the outbreak.
Virologist Guan Yi, director of the State Key Laboratory of Emerging Infectious Diseases at Hong Kong University, noted that too much time went by before a travel ban was imposed on the city.
Such a delay has allowed people to travel to their home town or village for the lunar New Year. The latter “are probably virus carriers on the move,” he explained.
He warns that the Wuhan coronavirus outbreak could be ten times worse than the SARS epidemic that killed almost 800 people around the world in 2002-03.
As of midnight Thursday, 17 deaths and 583 cases have been confirmed; of these, 571 in are in mainland China, 444 in Wuhan alone. The other 12 cases were reported in Thailand, South Korea, Japan, the United States, Hong Kong and Macau. (WZC)