United Kingdom urges citizens in China to leave; Belgium sees first case

  • United Kingdom urges citizens in China to leave; Belgium sees first case

United Kingdom urges citizens in China to leave; Belgium sees first case

As of Tuesday, at least 425 people, the majority in mainland China, have died from the coronavirus since it was first detected in December in the central Chinese city of Wuhan, with the total number of confirmed infections exceeding 20,000.

There are now 20,438 cases of the Wuhan coronavirus in mainland China, with close to 200 confirmed cases in other nations.

A woman wearing a protective face mask stands in front of a Chinese national flag and a Hong Kong flag outside government headquarters in Hong Kong, Tuesday, Feb. 4, 2020.

Xi presided over a special meeting of the top Communist Party body for the second time since the crisis started, telling the Politburo standing committee on Monday the country must race against time to curb the spread of the virus.

"Though four of these cases constitute a local transmission cluster, there is as yet no evidence of widespread sustained community transmission in Singapore", the health ministry said in a statement.

Hong Kong health authorities identified the victim as a 39-year-old male with a pre-existing illness who had recently visited Wuhan.

Thousands of medical workers in Hong Kong, a semi-autonomous region of China, held a second day of strikes to press for complete closure of borders with the mainland after three checkpoints were left open.

China considers Taiwan to be a renegade province and has objected to it becoming a member of the World Health Organization (WHO).

Such uncertainties have spurred strong measures by some countries, offending Beijing's communist government, which has called for calm, fact-based responses instead of scaremongering. More than 3,000 passengers and crew aboard a cruise ship anchored off the Japanese port of Yokohama were quarantined after a passenger tested positive for the virus.

19 foreign nationals tested positive for coronavirus

The Asian financial center has confirmed 17 cases of the virus and its public hospital network is struggling to cope with a deluge of patients and measures to contain the epidemic. Hong Kong was hit hard by severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) in 2002-03.

Chinese data suggests the new virus, while much more contagious, is significantly less lethal, although such numbers can evolve rapidly.

Raising the prospect of another dispute as trade frictions were easing, Beijing on Monday accused the United States of spreading panic after it announced plans to block almost all recent foreign visitors to China.

China's Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying condemned the United States for not providing "any substantial help" to China and making a fuss about the virus outbreak.

It said flights would be run by "partner countries" and any British nationals and their immediate families, including those with non-UK passports, must make themselves known if they wish to travel.

The United States began mandatory 14-day quarantines Sunday for US citizens who had been in Hubei province, of which Wuhan is the capital.

On Sunday, the US began implementing strict travel restrictions in response to the virus, including temporarily denying entry to foreign nationals who visited China in the past 14 days, according to CNN.

The fatality rate outside Hubei was only 0.16 percent, Jiao added.