Mongolia closing its border with China
Germany advises citizens to avoid the country
Malaysia bans visitors from Wuhan and Hubei provinces
The rapid spread of a deadly virus in China caused growing global alarm yesterday, with Germany advising citizens to avoid the country, Mongolia closing its border and other nations racing to evacuate citizens trapped at the epicentre of the health emergency.
The coronavirus has now killed 81 people and infected more than 2,700 across China, with cases found in around a dozen countries as far away as France and the United States.
In a sign of the mounting official concern, Premier Li Keqiang visited ground-zero to oversee containment efforts in Wuhan, a city of 11 million people where the disease emerged late last month.
The government has sealed off Wuhan and other cities in Hubei province, effectively trapping tens of millions of people, including thousands of foreigners, in a bid to quarantine the virus that struck amid the Lunar New Year holiday.
The Communist government decided to extend the holiday, initially due to end on January 30, for three days to limit population flows as it battles the outbreak.
Twenty-four new deaths were confirmed in Hubei yesterday, and the southern island province of Hainan reported its first fatality, bringing the nationwide toll to 81.
More than 700 new infections were confirmed, while the number of suspected cases doubled over 24 hours to nearly 6,000.
The World Health Organization yesterday said the global risk from the deadly virus in China was “high”, admitting an error in its previous reports that said it was “moderate”.
In Germany, Foreign Minister Heiko Maas said the government was holding crisis talks with health experts to discuss the spread of the virus.
Landlocked Mongolia, which is heavily dependent on trade with China, closed the border with its huge neighbour to cars.
Malaysia yesterday has banned visitors from Wuhan and its surrounding Hubei province.