Coronavirus: Xi Jinping warns of ‘grave situation’ as spread accelerates through China – live

 

Powered by Guardian.co.ukThis article titled “Coronavirus: number infected hits 1,400 worldwide – today’s developments” was written by Nicola Slawson (now), Molly Blackall and Alison Rourke (earlier), for theguardian.com on Saturday 25th January 2020 18.16 UTC

6.16pm GMT

Summary

I’ll be closing this liveblog shortly. Thanks for joining us. Here’s what you missed if you are just catching up.

  • Forty-one people in China have died from coronavirus, which originated in Wuhan, a city in Hubei province.
  • 62-year-old doctor Liang Wudong died from the virus in Wuhan after treating patients.
  • More than 1,370 cases have been confirmed worldwide, the vast majority in China, and others predominantly across Asia. However, the virus reached Europe yesterday, with three confirmed cases in France, and has also been reported in Australia and the US. In total, 14 countries have been affected.
  • The World Health Organization has not declared a crisis, but is monitoring the situation.
  • In China, 30 provinces, municipalities and autonomous regions have now raised their public health alert to level 1, the highest level.
  • China announced it had ordered nationwide measures to identify and immediately isolate suspected cases of a deadly virus on trains, aeroplanes and buses. It is also building two new hospitals to deal with the crisis.
  • Hong Kong’s chief executive, Carrie Lam, has said the response level has been raised from “serious” to “emergency”, the highest level.
  • The European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control issued a statement warning that more cases in the EU are likely.
  • In the UK, 31 people were tested and the results were negative. The government is trying to track down 2,000 people who arrived from Wuhan in recent weeks.
  • The US began an operation to evacuate its citizens and diplomats from Wuhan.

Here’s the latest full report from my colleagues Rebecca Ratcliffe and Wu Pei Lin as well as an explainer about what Coronvirus is and another about how it has spread.

6.13pm GMT

I spoke to a British academic who returned from China this week and said that no one from the UK government has tried to contact him regarding the coronavirus outbreak.

Martin Dove in Wuhan
Martin Dove “Me actually at Wuhan University of Technology, in front of a poster advertising a talk by me”
Photograph: Martin Dove

Health officials have teamed up with Border Force agents and airlines to try to track down about 2,000 people who have flown to the UK from Wuhan, the area worst affected by the outbreak.

Prof Martin Dove, who works for Queen Mary College London and Wuhan University of Technology, had been working in Wuhan from 3-12 January before heading to other parts of China and flying home on Wednesday.

After reading that Public Health England wanted to trace all those who had arrived back to the UK from Wuhan in the past 14 days, the physics professor tried to email PHE on various addresses and even emailed the chief medical officer Chris Whitty, but says he has not heard back from anyone.

Dove told me that although he did not feel unwell, he would like to rule himself out and he believed the government could be doing more to contact those in his position.

He said:

“If they want to track us down, why don’t they make it easier for us to contact them?”

Read the full story here:

5.14pm GMT

Five people suspected of having coronavirus in Scotland have tested negative

The five people suspected of having coronavirus in Scotland have tested negative, the Scottish government has said.

On Thursday, five patients were confirmed as being tested for the infection, and ministers have now announced they have been given the all-clear.

Health Protection Scotland has urged travellers returning from Wuhan who become unwell within a fortnight from a sore throat, cough or breathing difficulties to call their GP or NHS 24.

Scotland’s chief medical officer, Catherine Calderwood, said on Friday:

“Scotland is well prepared for these types of outbreaks – we have a proven track record of dealing with challenging health issues and the UK was one of the first countries in the world to develop a test for the new virus.

“I am being kept fully informed about the precautionary steps being taken, including timely updates on the patients who are currently being tested.”

Updated at 5.24pm GMT

3.22pm GMT

Number infected hits 1,400 worldwide

China has confirmed that it is dealing with a total of 1,372 cases of coronavirus nationally. So far, 39 have been discharged.

The number of those affected internationally has surpassed 1,400, but the death toll remains at 41.

According to Tom Cheshire, Sky News Asia correspondent, the number has increased from 40 cases of infection 10 days ago.

Updated at 3.41pm GMT

3.19pm GMT

In case you missed it, have a listen to yesterday’s Science Weekly podcast – The Wuhan Coronavirus: what we know and don’t know.

The Guardian’s science correspondent Hannah Devlin talks to Prof Ian Jones about the nature of the virus, and to Dr Rosalind Eggo about how scientists model the spread of novel viruses.

Updated at 3.31pm GMT

3.06pm GMT

Starbucks has announced that it will close all outlets in Hubei province for the duration of the week-long lunar new year holiday. It follows a similar announcement by McDonald’s, which will close branches in five cities in Hubei.

Updated at 3.28pm GMT

2.54pm GMT

Here’s the latest map showing where cases have been confirmed around the world.

map

Updated at 5.24pm GMT

2.49pm GMT

31 people tested in Britain so far

Over 30 people have now been tested for coronavirus in the UK, the Department of Health and Social Care and Public Health England have said. As of Saturday afternoon, some 31 tests have now concluded, all of which were confirmed as negative for the virus.

“There are currently no confirmed cases in the UK or of UK citizens abroad, and the risk to the public is low,” a statement said.

“The government is monitoring the situation closely and will continue to work with the World Health Organization (WHO) and international community,” it added.

It promised to announce any cases in the UK “if and when” it is confirmed.

What to do if you think you are at risk

If you have visited Wuhan and develop a fever, cough or have difficulty breathing within 14 days of returning, government guidelines recommend people seek medical attention.

“In the UK, please stay indoors and avoid contact with others where possible, call your GP or ring 111 informing them of your symptoms and your recent travel to the city.”

Updated at 2.54pm GMT

2.38pm GMT

The majority of deaths from the virus so far have been those aged between 60 and 89, according to William Yang, the east Asia correspondent for the German news outlet DW.

According to the figures, no one under 30 has died from the virus yet.

Updated at 3.46pm GMT

2.04pm GMT

Health alerts raised to highest level in 30 Chinese areas

In China, 30 provinces, municipalities and autonomous regions have now raised their public health alert to level 1, the highest level, according to Global Times. This enables measures such as quarantining.

Sichuan province has announced a ban on group gatherings. Individuals are not allowed to organise gatherings and restaurants are being prevented from hosting them. Anyone who had prior reservations has been told to cancel.

In Hubei province, where the virus originated, all 72 train stations have been closed down.

Workers in protective suits are checking the temperature of those entering Beijing’s central railway, and some railway services have been suspended in the eastern Yangtze River Delta region.

Updated at 11.26am GMT

1.58pm GMT

Chinese tourism continues to be affected by the spread of the virus.

All domestic and foreign tour group operations are to be suspended from Monday. The move follows the closure of Shanghai’s Disneyland, and all tourist sites in the popular Sanya city.

Updated at 3.09pm GMT

1.24pm GMT

Chinese president warns of ‘grave situation’

The Chinese president, Xi Jinping, has held a special government meeting to address the spread of the virus.

The president warned of a “grave situation” at a meeting with the politburo on the lunar new year public holiday, state television reported. He also said the virus was “accelerating its speed”.

According to the TV report, resources and experts will be channelled to designated hospitals to tackle the virus. Supplies to Hubei province will be guaranteed and cost won’t be a hindrance.

Updated at 1.53pm GMT

1.12pm GMT

Here’s an overview of the developments so far:

  • Forty-one people in China have died from coronavirus, which originated in Wuhan, a city in Hubei province. This is up from 26 a day earlier.
  • At least 17 cities in Hubei have been locked down, and around 28 provinces have issued the highest emergency response ranking possible, which enables measures including quarantines.
  • There is virtually no travel being allowed into or out of Wuhan, and Beijing has suspended inter-province travel.
  • More than 1,280 cases have been confirmed worldwide, the vast majority in China, and others predominantly across Asia. However, the virus reached Europe yesterday, with three confirmed cases in France, and has also been reported in Australia and the US. In total, 14 countries have been affected.
  • In the UK, 14 people were tested and the results were negative. The government is trying to track down 2,000 people who arrived from Wuban in recent weeks.
  • The European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control says more cases in the EU are likely.
  • Hong Kong announced this morning that it would raise its response from ‘serious’ to ‘emergency’, the highest ranking. School holidays will be extended for another two weeks, and a marathon has been cancelled.
  • The World Health Organization has not declared a crisis, but is monitoring the situation.
  • China is building two new hospitals to tackle the crisis, the first in 10 days and another in two weeks.

Updated at 3.02pm GMT

1.01pm GMT

Beijing now has five confirmed cases of coronavirus, but two of those had no connection with the province of Hubei.

This appears to be the first time the virus has spread without having a direct link to Hubei, indicating that the virus is now being transmitted person-to-person within the capital.

Updated at 2.06pm GMT

12.57pm GMT

Footage from the BBC’s China correspondent, Stephen McDonell, shows the deserted streets of Hubei, the province where the virus originated.

Updated at 12.58pm GMT

12.54pm GMT

The lockdown has now been expanded to another 16 cities, according to Associated Press. This brings the total to 17 cities, including Wuhan, affecting 50 million people – more than the population of New York, London, Paris and Moscow combined.

The cities of Yichang, Suizhou and Jingzhou were the latest added to the list on Friday evening and Saturday.

There are several different figures circulating, so I’ll update you as and when I can.

Updated at 2.08pm GMT

12.26pm GMT

Beijing has suspended all inter-province buses to try to limit the spread of the virus. It is not yet known when the services will resume.

China cut off trains, planes and other links to Wuhan on Wednesday, and transport within the city has also been suspended.

Updated at 2.08pm GMT

11.48am GMT

US chartering flight to evacuate citizens from Wuhan

The US is beginning an operation to evacuate uts citizens and diplomats from Wuhan, the Wall Street Journal (WSJ) has said.

There are around 1,000 US citizens in the city and the embassy is in the process of contacting them to arrange seats on a plane back to the US. Plans are in place for the consulate to close temporarily, the newspaper said.

There are only 230 seats on the plane, according to the WSJ report, and those on board will have to pay the costs entailed. US medical personnel will be on board to treat suspected cases of the coronavirus, and any unfilled seats may be offered to non-US citizens.

Washington was given approval for the operation from China’s foreign ministry and other government agencies following negotiations in recent days, the WSJ said.

It is not yet known where the plane will land.

Updated at 2.10pm GMT

11.39am GMT

The central politburo of the Communist party has set up a working group to tackle the spread of the virus, according to Global Times, China’s national English language newspaper.

Updated at 2.11pm GMT

11.26am GMT

Symptoms may not show until a week after infection

Symptoms of coronavirus may not manifest until up to a week after contracting the virus, Dr Adam Kucharski, a professor at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine told Sky News. Most symptoms begin to appear between three and six days after infection.

It is not yet known whether the virus can be spread by symptomless carriers.

Kucharski also confirmed that older people with pre-existing health conditions were at greater risk of the virus, but that the exact risk to younger people in good health was not known.

Updated at 2.12pm GMT

11.06am GMT

Global Times is reporting that 26 Chinese provinces have now declared a level 1 emergency – the highest level – allowing them to introduce measures including quarantines.

The issue is unfolding very quickly, so it’s worth noting that figures around the number of areas with travel restrictions and severity alerts are varied, ranging from 22 to 28.

A total of 1,287 people are now confirmed to have been infected in China.

In Hong Kong, 122 people are being tested for the virus, with five confirmed cases.

Updated at 2.12pm GMT

11.03am GMT

What is coronavirus and where has it come from?

Coronavirus has flu-like symptoms, which can develop into severe respiratory problems.

The current outbreak is understood to be a new strain of coronavirus, not previously found in humans. The virus can be transmitted between humans and animals, making it harder to contain.

Other strains of coronavirus are not as dangerous – the common cold is one.

Authorities have said that the current strain of the virus originated at a seafood market in Wuhan, Hubei province, which has seen the most severe outbreak of coronavirus. It is thought the market was selling wildlife illegally and has now been shut down.

Updated at 2.14pm GMT

10.26am GMT

Hu Yinghai, the deputy director general of the civil affairs department in Hubei province, where Wuhan is located, appealed this morning for masks and protective suits.

“We are steadily pushing forward the disease control and prevention … But right now we are facing an extremely severe public health crisis,” he told a news briefing.

Vehicles carrying emergency supplies and medical staff for Wuhan would be exempted from tolls and given traffic priority, China’s transportation ministry said on Saturday.

More than 400 military doctors arrived in Wuhan on Friday night, including those experience tackling Ebola.

The city, home to 11 million people, is on lockdown, with residents unable to leave. Taxis have been assigned to neighbourhood committees to help those who need to travel immediately.

Updated at 11.35am GMT

10.24am GMT

Virus most dangerous for older people

Coronavirus is more likely to affect older or middle-aged people, especially those who have had diseases before, according to Dr Nathalie MacDermott, a clinical research fellow in infectious diseases at Imperial College London.

For younger people, the virus “may be similar to having the flu”, she told Sky News this morning.

MacDermott also said the UK was well prepared to deal with the virus, and already had tests in place.

Updated at 10.35am GMT

10.06am GMT

Wuhan, where the virus originated, is to ban all cars from the downtown area. Only vehicles with a transport pass, or those being used by people working for government services, will be allowed to travel.

Updated at 10.47am GMT

10.04am GMT

European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control says more cases in EU likely

The European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control has issued a statement following the news that the virus has reached Europe, with three confirmed cases in France.

It said the development was “not unexpected” but “the fact that these cases were identified, proves that detection and confirmation of this novel virus is working in France, showing a high level of preparedness to prevent and control possible infections”.

It said: “Most EU countries have plans and measures in place to contain this kind of infection and Europe has well-equipped laboratories that can confirm probable cases, in addition to hospitals that are prepared to treat patients accordingly.”

It added that more cases in Europe were likely.

Updated at 10.47am GMT

9.56am GMT

Last night, authorities in England set up a public health hub at Heathrow airport, in terminal four.

The hub is staffed by teams of seven clinicians working on rotation, who will support those flying in from China who feel unwell.

In a statement, Public Health England said its priority was to distribute information to those arriving from China.

“Most people who develop symptoms will get them after leaving the airport and so our priority is providing UK residents and travellers with the latest information to make sure they know what to do if they experience symptoms,” a spokesperson said.

“The NHS and PHE have an established plan to respond to someone who becomes unwell,” it added.

Passengers arriving in terminal 4 at Heathrow on Friday.
Passengers arriving in terminal 4 at Heathrow on Friday.
Photograph: Steve Parsons/PA

The chief medical officer for England, Prof Chris Whitty, said in a statement last night that the risk to the UK remains low, but that there “may well be cases in the UK at some point”.

“The UK is well prepared for these types of incidents, with excellent readiness against infectious diseases,” he said.

Updated at 10.42am GMT

9.41am GMT

China to build second coronavirus hospital

Chinese state media are reporting that a second hospital, with a capacity of 1,300 beds, will be built to tackle the virus.

Construction has begun and is scheduled to be completed in around two weeks.

Dozens of diggers work to build a new hospital in Wuhan to accommodate those infected with the coronavirus.
Dozens of diggers work to build a new hospital in Wuhan to accommodate those infected with the coronavirus.
Photograph: Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

Updated at 10.16am GMT

9.35am GMT

Tourism across China has been affected by the virus.

Shanghai’s Disneyland resort will be closed from Saturday, and the popular destination of Sanya city has shut down all tourist sites to limit the possible spread.

Haikou city, the capital of the Hainan province, has started a two-week medical observation period for all tourists from Hubei, the region where Wuhan is located.

Updated at 10.16am GMT

9.26am GMT

Summary

Here’s a brief update on the cases worldwide so far:

Thailand and Hong Kong each have five reported cases, Australia has four, and France, Japan, Singapore and Taiwan have three each.

Vietnam, South Korea and the US have two reported cases, and Nepal has one.

In the UK, 14 people have been tested for the virus but all came back negative.

North Korea blocked all arrivals from foreigners on Wednesday to prevent the virus spreading to its population.

Updated at 12.10pm GMT

9.05am GMT

Australia now has four confirmed cases of the virus, one in Melbourne and three in New South Wales. All four people had recently visited China.

The three men in New South Wales, aged 43, 45, and 53, had arrived directly from Wuhan, where the virus first emerged.

The confirmed case in Melbourne is of a Chinese man, who flew over from China. He is said to be in a stable condition.

The Guardian’s Ben Doherty has more information.

Updated at 11.09am GMT

8.55am GMT

China’s ministry of finance and its National Health Commission are allocating a special fund for treatment and prevention of the virus. They’re also offering subsidies for medical staff tackling the illness.

Eighteen cities in China have suspended public transport.

Updated at 10.18am GMT

8.44am GMT

Hong Kong response level raised to ’emergency’

Hong Kong’s chief executive, Carrie Lam, has said the response level has been raised from “serious” to “emergency”, the highest level.

A marathon has been cancelled, and new year celebrations scaled back. Primary and secondary school students will be given an extra two weeks holiday to avoid the virus spreading in schools.

Lam also said trains and planes from Wuhan would be blocked.

She said she would be personally chairing an interdepartmental committee to enable a faster response to the spread of the virus.

“We will not be frugal about the resources needed,” she said.

Updated at 12.41pm GMT

8.20am GMT

This is Molly, taking over the blog in London. I’ll be reporting on developments in the virus and its spread as they unfold today.

Updated at 10.21am GMT

8.14am GMT

The Hubei health commission is giving a press conference. A provincial official has said the situation is very severe and medical supplies are tight. He called for more medical supplies, such as masks and protective suits, from both domestic and overseas providers. These are some of the other main points from the briefing:

  • 67 hospitals have opened special emergency rooms for patients with fevers.
  • 11 medical staff have so far developed a fever. Three have been cured. The rest are under watch.
  • Non-essential vehicles will be banned from the Wuhan city centre from 26 January.
  • Chinese traditional medicine would be used alongside Western medicine in the treatment of coronavirus patients.

8.02am GMT

The People’s Daily has released a photograph of Liang Wudong, the doctor who died in Wuhan from the virus.

7.54am GMT

Summary

Here’s a what we know so far about the spreading coronavirus.

  • A 62-year-old doctor, Liang Wudong, has died from the virus in Wuhan after treating patients. Reports say a second doctor Jiang Jijun also died from a heart attack after becoming exhausted from attending to patients.
  • Chinese authorities confirmed on Saturday that 41 people had died from the virus and over 1,300 have been infected globally.
  • 56 million people in 18 provinces are now subject to travel restrictions.
  • China has ordered nationwide measures to identify and immediately isolate suspected cases of a deadly virus on trains, aeroplanes and buses.
  • Shanghai has shut all cinemas until 30 January to try to stop the spread of the virus
  • China’s Haikou city, the capital of the southern island province of Hainan, will start a 14-day centralised medical observation for tourists from the central Hubei province
  • 1,200 military medical personnel have been sent to Wuhan to help with the outbreak, according to state media.
  • Australia reported it’s first confirmed case of the virus – a man in his 50s who had returned from China and had visited Wuhan.
  • Malaysia reported a third case of the virus on Saturday.
  • Japan confirmed its third case.
  • In the UK, 2,000 travellers who have arrived recently from Wuhan are being sought. Fourteen people tested negative for the virus.
  • 12 countries outside China have confirmed cases.

7.41am GMT

The race is on to build a new hospital in Wuhan to treat patients infected with the virus. Here is a timelapse of the work so far:

7.31am GMT

There are reports on the Global Times that a second doctor has died. It says Jiang Jijun died from exhaustion from treating patients.

Updated at 7.33am GMT

7.20am GMT

We’ve updated our explainer on where the virus has spread to:

7.18am GMT

China orders nationwide measures to identify and isolate cases

This from Agence France-Presse:

China has ordered nationwide measures to identify and immediately isolate suspected cases of a deadly virus on trains, aeroplanes and buses, as the death toll and number of patients has skyrocketed.

Inspection stations will be set up and passengers with suspected pneumonia must be “immediately transported” to a medical centre, the National Health Commission said in a statement.

The isolation of suspected cases must be followed by disinfection of the train, plane or bus.

The statement said “all departments of transportation” must “strictly” introduce prevention and control measures including screening measures in airports, railway stations, bus stations and ports.

7.11am GMT

A statement from Japan’s health ministry said the new patient was a woman in her 30s who arrived in the country on 18 January with no symptoms. She developed a cough and fever on the 21st. The statement said she had not visited the seafood market in Wuhan.

7.06am GMT

To bring our numbers up to date – 56 million people are now subject to restrictions on their movement as authorities expanded travel bans in central Hubei province, now affecting 18 cities.

7.04am GMT

Japan has reportedly confirmed its third case of the coronavirus.

6.57am GMT

Security personnel wearing hazardous material suits measure body temperatures of passenger at the entrance of a subway station in Beijing
Security personnel wearing hazardous material suits measure body temperatures of passenger at the entrance of a subway station in Beijing
Photograph: Wu Hong/EPA
Flight crew wearing masks arrive on a direct flight from China at Vancouver International Airport
Flight crew wearing masks arrive on a direct flight from China at Vancouver International Airport

Photograph: Jennifer Gauthier/Reuters

6.55am GMT

One doctor is reportedly infected in Beijing.

6.40am GMT

More signs that new year’s celebrations are off and many people are staying away from public places:

6.34am GMT

Australia’s prime minister Scott Morrison has released an update on the virus:

6.31am GMT

Chinese news website Caixin has a snapshot of what reporting on the outbreak in Wuhan during Lunar new year is like. In the piece Gao Yu describes rumours flying around the hospitals, including that patients were attacking doctors.

None of these things were true.

Overall, the city still operates in an orderly fashion. But shortages of medical devices and the fact that most local medical staff are incredibly overloaded are indeed severe problems. And most worryingly of all is the continuous spread of the virus…

Back in our hotel, we found protective gear waiting for us kindly donated by people we don’t even know, sent from around the country.

The three of us are the only customers of this hotel. They keep operating just for us, and put a small gift of fruit in our room – it’s the new year after all.”

6.18am GMT

The scene in Wuhan:

6.09am GMT

The Global Times reports that 22 provinces, home to 1.1 billion people, have declared a level 1 public health emergency.

6.02am GMT

The Times of India reports that 12 people who have returned to India from China and Hong Kong have been quarantined as a precaution. Three, including a Briton, are in Mumbai, and nine in Kerala.

5.58am GMT

5.47am GMT

South Korea’s Yonhap news reports that North Korea has stepped up its efforts to prevent the virus entering the country. A flight from Beijing to Pyongyang has been cancelled, travel to China has been restricted and the North’s cabinet Minju Choson called on people to take extra care of personal hygiene, it said.

5.38am GMT

The alarming spread of coronavirus is on the front pages of many Saturday papers around the world:

5.27am GMT

Here is our full report by Michael Standaert in Sichuan on the death of a doctor who was treating patients in Wuhan:

5.12am GMT

Lunar new year celebrations have been subdued as a result of the widespread lockdowns. With many restaurants, markets and parks closed, public gatherings banned and public transport suspended, many people have chosen to stay home.

Wang Feng, a 40-year-old resident of Wuhan, told Reuters:

“Usually we celebrate as a family. Now, because of the virus I’m not even visiting my parents.”

“It’ll be great just to be able to make it through (the outbreak).”

5.05am GMT

Images of the start of construction of a 1,000-bed hospital to handle cases of coronavirus in Wuhan show a hive of activity. The facility is due to be completed by 3 February. China undertook a similar project after the Sars outbreak.

An aerial view of activity at the site of the construction of a 1,000-bed hospital in Wuhan
An aerial view of activity at the site of the construction of a 1,000-bed hospital in Wuhan
Photograph: Stringer/Getty Images
An electrician sets up wiring while workers drive excavators at the construction site of a field hospital in Wuhan
An electrician sets up wiring while workers drive excavators at the construction site of a field hospital in Wuhan
Photograph: Stringer/Getty Images
Workers driving excavators at the construction site of the 1,000-bed hospital that is to be built by February 3 to cope with the surge of 2019-nCoV patients in the city
Workers driving excavators at the construction site of the 1,000-bed hospital that is to be built by February 3 to cope with the surge of 2019-nCoV patients in the city
Photograph: Stringer/Getty Images

4.54am GMT

The government mouthpiece that is the People’s Daily clearly endorses Donald Trump’s message that China is working hard to contain the virus and “it will all work out well”.

4.50am GMT

1,200 medical staff sent to Wuhan

CGTN, China’s official state broadcaster, now says more than 1,200 medical staff are being sent to Wuhan.

4.44am GMT

Reuters is reporting that Starbucks is closing all of its outlets in Hubei province during the week-long Lunar new year holiday.

4.43am GMT

Here is our latest news wrap by Ben Doherty on the situation in Australia, where a man in his 50s in Melbourne has become the first confirmed case of novel coronavirus, with two further “probable infections” being treated in New South Wales.

4.33am GMT

Summary

Here’s a summary of what we know so far about the spreading coronavirus.

4.22am GMT

I’m getting a bit more information on the new case of the virus diagnosed in Malaysia, taking the total in that country to three.

The health minister, Dzulkefly Ahmad, said the three individuals infected were Chinese nationals and related to the 66-year-old man that was confirmed by Singapore health authorities to have tested positive for the virus.

The infected individuals were a 65-year-old woman, who is the wife of the man detected with the virus in Singapore, and their two grandsons, aged 11 and 2, Dzulkefly said.

The three have been admitted to Sungai Buloh hospital in Kuala Lumpur for treatment and were considered in stable conditions, the minister said at a news conference.

In a separate statement, Malaysia Airports said it has heightened screening of all passengers and crew arriving from China at gateway airports across the country to minimise the potential spread of the virus.

4.13am GMT

Confirmed coronavirus cases in China and internationally

A total of 41 people have now died from the coronavirus, according to official Chinese figures. It’s not clear whether the 62-year-old doctor in Wuhan, who died while treating the outbreak, is included in that figure.

The National Health Commission reported a jump in the number of people infected with the virus to 1,287. The latest tally came from 29 provinces across China, including 237 patients in serious condition.

Internationally, here’s what we know about cases confirmed outside of China.

  • China has reported 1,287 cases of coronavirus
  • Australia confirmed a man in his 50s tested positive for coronavirus on Saturday after returning to Melbourne from Wuhan.
  • Malaysia has confirmed 3 cases of the virus
  • In France, three people have fallen ill with the virus – the disease’s first appearance in Europe
  • The United States reported its second case, involving a Chicago woman in her 60s who was hospitalised in isolation after returning from China
  • Two cases confirmed in Vietnam
  • Three cases in Singapore
  • As of Friday night, five people had been diagnosed with the virus in Hong Kong, according to the South China Morning Post
  • On Friday South Korea’s government confirmed the second case of a coronavirus that originated in China, the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention said.
  • Japan – a destination for many lunar new year holiday makers – has confirmed 2 cases
  • Thailand’s public health ministry has confirmed five cases.
  • Nepal has one infection
  • Taiwan has reported three cases and Macao two

Updated at 4.26am GMT

3.55am GMT

Malaysia reports third case of coronavirus

Malaysia has just reported its third case of coronavirus. Australia reported its first case on Saturday. I’ll bring you a rundown of where cases are internationally shortly.

Updated at 3.55am GMT

3.48am GMT

China’s Global Times, state media’s tabloid outlet, has tweeted images of empty streets in Wuhan, including the city’s busiest commercial street.

It has also tweeted footage of the race to build the new 1,000-bed hospital in Wuhan to treat patients.

Updated at 3.51am GMT

3.46am GMT

Chinese state media is reporting medical staff from around China are flying to Wuhan to help combat the outbreak of coronavirus.

CGTN said a medical team of 135 experts from Guangdong province were among them the medics flying out.

“They include a group of 24 doctors and nurses from Nanfang Hospital, who had been at the forefront of the battle against the SARs epidemic in 2003,” the broadcaster said.

3.38am GMT

Chinese state media has posted an update on the number of cases of coronavirus. It’s missing the Australian case diagnosed on Saturday.

3.35am GMT

Shanghai shuts down cinemas – reports

The Reuters news agency is reporting that China’s financial hub, Shanghai, has shut down all cinemas during the Lunar New Year holidays, which last until 30 January. They are quoting Liberation Daily online channel. I’ll bring you more on this when i have it.

3.29am GMT

450 military medics sent to Wuhan – state media

China has stepped up its repsonse to the crisis by sending 450 military medical personnel to Wuhan, state media has said, according to Agence France-Presse.

The medics, who arrived by aircraft late on Friday, have experience in flighting Sars and Ebola, the statement said. They will be dispatched to hospitals with large numbers of infected patients, according to the official Xinhua news agency.

Updated at 3.41am GMT

3.21am GMT

There are a great many social media posts about the coronavirus, including of footage said to be shot in hospitals in Wuhan which have been grappling with a flood of patients and a lack of supplies. Some of the videos show frantic people in masks lined up for examinations, and some report complaints that family members had been turned away at hospitals that were at capacity.

The videos are hard to verify but we do know that authorities in Wuhan and elsewhere put out calls for medicine, disinfection equipment, masks, goggles, gowns and other protective gear. It’s also pretty clear that people in the city are taking whatever precautions they can to avoid infection.

Pharmacy workers wearing protective clothes and masks serve customers in Wuhan on January 25, 2020.

Pharmacy workers wearing protective clothes and masks serve customers in Wuhan on January 25, 2020.

Photograph: Héctor Retamal/AFP via Getty Images

3.15am GMT

Just while I’m still looking at CGTN, the network is reporting that the first coronavirus patient in China’s Zhejiang province as been cured.

Updated at 3.15am GMT

3.09am GMT

The Chinese state broadcaster CGTN has also been showing footage of the race to build a new hospital to accomodate the growing number of cases of coronavirus. You can see footage of the build on their tweet below.

3.02am GMT

Doctor treating coronavirus dies in Wuhan

The official twitter feed of China Global Television Network (CGTN), formerly known as CCTV, said: “Liang Wudong, a doctor at Hubei Xinhua Hospital who had been at the front line of the #CoronavirusOutbreak battle in Wuhan, dies from the virus at age 62.”

Updated at 3.04am GMT

2.57am GMT

Chinese state media reports a doctor has died from the virus in Wuhan

There are reports emerging that a doctor treating patients in Wuhan has died from coronavirus. Chinese state media has named the doctor as 62-year-old Liang Wudong. I’ll bring you more details as soon as I have them.

2.33am GMT

The Chinese ambassador to London, Liu Xiaoming, has said Beijing is co-operating with the World Health Organization over the outbreak of the virus. The WHO declared the new coronavirus an “emergency in China” this week but has stopped short of declaring it of international concern.

In Hubei province, where the outbreak is believed to have begun, health authorities said on Saturday there were 658 patients affected by the virus in medical care, 57 of whom were critically ill.

Medical facilities in Wuhan have been inundated with cases of suspected coronavirus.
Medical facilities in Wuhan have been inundated with cases of suspected coronavirus.
Photograph: The Central Hospital Of Wuhan Vi/Reuters

2.31am GMT

As promised, here’s some more of what the Australian PM, Scott Morrison said about the country’s first diagnosed case of coronavirus.

Morrison said a confirmed diagnoses in the country had been anticipated.

“The Australian Government, of course, has been taking this issue incredibly seriously. We have activated the necessary precautions and procedures that are in place,” he said.

Chief medical officers in all states and territories met today he said, to discuss the outbreak.

“What I want to assure Australians about is the preparedness and the plans and the capabilities are in place here in Australia to deal with issues of this nature. We have the people, we have all of the procedures that are now swinging into place to ensure that we can provide the protection to Australians. Now, that said, across the country, even as we speak, our border authorities and biosecurity authorities will be ensuring that those flights that are coming from China will be met by our officials and there will be appropriate information that is being provided to those alighting passengers.”

Morrison confirmed that Australia’s travel advisory had been changed to recommend people do no travel to Hubei province at all.

2.17am GMT

Australia’s prime minister, Scott Morrison, has just given a press conference about the confirmed case of coronavirus in Melbourne, Australia’s first confirmed. I’ll bring you the details of what he said shortly, but the overall message was for Australian’s to “go about their normal business”.

2.06am GMT

China’s Hainan province quarantines tourists from Hubei province

In China’s Haikou city, the capital of the southern island province of Hainan, will start a 14-day centralised medical observation for tourists from the central Hubei province, the local government in Haikou has announced.

Tourists from Hubei, especially from Wuhan city, are not allowed to leave the hotel where the medical observation will be held during the 14-day period, it said.

Hubei has confirmed 729 cases of the new coronavirus, with 39 deaths as of 24 January, the provincial health authorities said.

The Central Hospital of Wuhan, in the province of Hubei, has been treating coronavirus patients.
The Central Hospital of Wuhan, in the province of Hubei, has been treating coronavirus patients.
Photograph: The Central Hospital Of Wuhan Vi/Reuters

1.52am GMT

Earlier the chief medical office in Australian state of New south Wales, Dr Kerry Chant, said the suspected patients in the country were in isolation and did not pose a risk of transmitting the virus.

“We’re encouraging people who have come back from Wuhan, or who have been in contact with confirmed cases in China or in other countries, to please seek care if you develop any symptoms of fever, sore throat, pneumonia, a cough or respiratory symptoms of any sort,” she said.

Chant said testing currently takes about six hours but that time frame will likely shrink in the future.

You can read our full coverage of the Australian situation here.

1.50am GMT

Australia’s chief medical officer said about another 12 people were being tested in Australia today for the virus.

The man diagnosed with the virus is in his 50s and sought medical advice after he fell ill once he was in Melbourne. Murphy said he wore a face mask to the hospital where he reported his symptoms.

He arrived in Melbourne on flight CZ321 last Sunday 19 January – a China Southern Airlines Flight No CZ321 from Guangzhou. Australian authorities are contacting people on that flight.

1.46am GMT

Australia’s chief medical officer says ‘no risk to general Australian community’

Australia’s chief medical officer, Professor Brendan Murphy, is giving a news conference, after a case of coronavirus was confirmed in Melbourne.

He says there is “no evidence this virus is being transmitted in Australia”.

He has asked that anyone who has travelled from China who develops flu-like symptoms to see their doctor and get checked out.

“At this stage there is no risk to the general Australian community,” Murphy says.

“There are potentially others like this person (diagnosed in Melbourne)… who was well when he travelled.”

He confirmed the man diagnosed had visited Wuhan province, but had come from a direct flight from Guangzhou to Melbourne.

Updated at 2.02am GMT

1.40am GMT

In the United Kingdom, the 14 people who were tested for coronavirus did not in fact have it. But UK health officials have teamed up with Border Force agents and airlines to try to track down around 2,000 people who have recently flown into the UK from Wuhan. China’s ambassador to London, Liu Xiaoming, says the government in Beijing is determined to curb the spread of the virus. Health officials have teamed up with Border Force agents and airlines to try to track down around 2,000 people who have recently flown into the UK from Wuhan, the Chinese province at the centre of the deadly coronavirus outbreak.

1.34am GMT

As the coronavirus outbreak continues to spread, Chinese authorities in Wuhan are rushing to build a new 1,000-bed hospital in the city to deal with the rising influx of patients.

To speed construction, the hospital is being built with prefabricated buildings around a holiday complex originally intended for local workers, set in gardens by a lake on the outskirts of the city.

You can read the full story of the hospital build here, but in the mean time, here are some amazing images of the construction.

Workers driving excavators at the construction site of a new field hospital being built in Wuhan, Hubei Province, China.
Workers driving excavators at the construction site of a new field hospital being built in Wuhan, Hubei Province, China.
Photograph: Stringer/Getty Images
Dozens of excavators clear the area for the new hospital in Wuhan.
Dozens of excavators clear the area for the new hospital in Wuhan.
Photograph: Stringer/Getty Images
Workers driving excavators at the construction site of a new field hospital being built in Wuhan, Hubei Province, China.
Workers driving excavators at the construction site of a new field hospital being built in Wuhan, Hubei Province, China.
Photograph: Stringer/Getty Images

1.14am GMT

Officials in the Australia say the 50-year-old man arrived in Australia on Sunday. He entered Australia on China Southern Airlines flight number CZ321 and had spent the intervening time with family in Melbourne.

The man developed symptoms of pneumonia and presented to a GP on Thursday. He was then put into isolation.

Authorities said there may be other people on the plane who were incubating the virus and called for other people on the flight to come forward for testing.

Updated at 1.17am GMT

1.09am GMT

One confirmed case in Australia

A man in Australia has the coronavirus, officials have said.

The man arrived in Melbourne from the southern Chinese city of Guangzhou about a week ago, authorities said.

12.57am GMT

Five tested in Australia

Health officials in New South Wales said on Saturday morning that five people were being tested for the coronavirus.

Two other people have been discharged after returning negative results on Friday. Another two people in Queensland are also being assessed for the virus.

Passengers arrive at Sydney airport from Wuhan on Thursday.
Passengers arrive at Sydney airport from Wuhan on Thursday.
Photograph: Don Arnold/Getty Images

The Australian foreign affairs minister, Marise Payne, said the government was advising people not to travel to and from Hubei province, of which Wuhan is the capital.

A flight arrived in Sydney direct from Wuhan on Thursday before the Chinese city’s airport was closed.

Here’s the full story from our reporter in Sydney, Ben Doherty.

Updated at 1.16am GMT

12.50am GMT

Welcome to our live coverage of the Sars-like coronavirus outbreak. To start is off, these are the main developments in the last few hours:

  • China said on Saturday morning that the death toll has risen to 41 with 1,287 affected.
  • Thirteen cities with a population of 36 million people are in lockdown as the government tries to stop the virus from spreading as China enters the lunar new year holiday.
  • Chinese state TV said the authorities were going to take stricter and more targeted measures to curb the spread.
  • The virus, which began in the central city of Wuhan, has now spread to much of east and south-east Asia, including South Korea, Japan, Hong Kong, Thailand and Vietnam.
  • Three cases have been recorded in France and the health minister said more were expected
  • In the UK, 2,000 travellers who have arrived recently from Wuhan are being sought. Fourteen people tested negative for the virus.
  • Five people are being tested in the Australian state of New South Wales.

Catch up with the development in full with our main news wrap from our correspondent Rebecca Ratcliffe here.

Updated at 12.57am GMT

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Rajesh

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