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New coronavirus spreading fast, killing more people in China

Over 105 people are confirmed dead as a result of contacting the new coronavirus in China, and more than 4,500 others have been infected in the country.

China’s National Health Commission (NHC) said Tuesday that most of the 106 deaths were reported in the city of Wuhan, which is believed to be the epicenter of the outbreak, while the capital, Beijing, recorded its first death from the coronavirus on Monday.

NHC announced that the total number of confirmed infections had also increased to 4,515 as of Monday, up from 2,835 just a day earlier. Alarmingly, the commission said that 976 of the confirmed cases were in serious condition.

Only a total of 60 patients in China have been cured and discharged.

The virus has rapidly spread throughout China and to more than a dozen other countries, including Germany and the United States, but no fatalities have been reported overseas.

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In an attempt to contain the virus, China has imposed tight transport restrictions in several cities and extended the Lunar New Year national holiday to February 2.

Beijing Public Transport Group also announced that it would halt the majority of bus services from Wuhan into neighboring Hebei Province starting on Tuesday, according to a statement published on its official Weibo account.

Also on Tuesday, the Chinese Education Ministry said the spring semester for schools and universities nationwide would be delayed. It didn’t give a resumption date.

Philippines, Kazakhstan halt visas on arrivals for Chinese

The Philippines and Kazakhstan have meanwhile suspended issuing tourist visas on arrival to Chinese citizens.

Jaime Morente, the head of Philippines’ Bureau of Immigration, said in a statement on Tuesday, “We are taking this proactive measure to slow down travel, and possibly help prevent the entry” of the virus.

Kazakhstan’s Deputy Foreign Minister Shukhrat Nuryshev also announced that his country had stopped issuing electronic visas to Chinese nationals on arrival and will require medical certificates from those seeking visas.

Many other countries have started screening measures at their ports of entry from China as well.

France, Japan to repatriate citizens from Wuhan

France’s junior transport minister Jean-Baptiste Djebarri said on Tuesday that a first plane to repatriate French nationals from Wuhan would head to the city on Wednesday.

“There will be a first repatriation flight that will leave Paris tomorrow and most likely come back Thursday with people… who have no symptoms,” he told French television channel CNews, adding, “These people will be put under quarantine.”

Djebarri also said a second flight will take place “at a yet undefined date” to carry people who are showing symptoms, thus they “will be cared for in Paris.”

A paramilitary police officer wearing a protective facemask stands on guard in front of the portrait of late communist leader Mao Zedong, at Tiananmen Gate in Beijing, China, on January 28, 2020. (Photo by AFP)

Japan’s Foreign Minister Toshimitsu Motegi told reporters that a chartered flight would be dispatched to Wuhan on Tuesday night to evacuate Japanese nationals. The flight could carry about 200 people.

“We will dispatch the first flight to Wuhan tonight, which will bring masks, protective suits and other support items for Chinese people and Japanese nationals there,” he added.

Motegi said nearly 650 Japanese nationals hoped to head home from the city, and said the Japanese government was arranging for further flights that would leave for Wuhan as early as Wednesday.

Russia’s Far East regions close borders with China

Amid fears over the outbreak of the virus, Russia’s Far East Jewish Autonomous regions Oblast, Khabarovsk, and Amur have closed their borders with China until February 7, according to the governor of Khabarovsk.

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