Coronavirus: Death toll hits 811 in China as Spain confirms 2nd case

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The death toll in mainland China from the coronavirus has surged to 811, the National Health Commission said on Sunday, as a Japanese and an American became the first foreigners to die of the illness in China.

The Commission reported 89 deaths nationwide up to midnight on Saturday with 81 of the fatalities in Hubei, the central province at the heart of the outbreak.

More people have now died from coronavirus in China than did worldwide during the 2002-2003 outbreak of severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS), with the total number of infections in the country rising to 37,198.

Two people have died from the virus outside mainland China – one in Hong Kong and another in the Philippines – and at least 25 countries have confirmed cases.

Major airlines have suspended flights to and from China and several countries have evacuated their citizens from Wuhan and the wider Hubei province in a bid to stop the spread of the infection.

China allocates $10bn to fight coronavirus

China’s finance ministry said all levels of government had allocated a total of 71.85 billion yuan ($10.26bn) as of Saturday afternoon to fight coronavirus.

The ministry will deploy the funds to ensure that members of public can afford diagnosis and treatment, it said in a statement on its website.

Hong Kong family feared infected after sharing hotpot meal

Nine members of a Hong Kong family are feared to be infected with the coronavirus after sharing a hotpot meal over the Lunar New Year holiday at the end of January, officials said. 

Two members of the family – a 24-year-old man and his grandmother, who is in her 90s – are confirmed to have the virus, while seven more have returned preliminarily positive results for the disease, health authorities said. 

Two more relatives are waiting for their results.

China’s Hubei to cut costs to ease virus burden

China’s Hubei province will offer subsidies and cut costs for small and medium-sized firms to help them cope with the impact of the coronavirus epidemic, the local government said. 

It said it would pay 30 percent of electricity costs for small and medium-sized firms involved in medical supplies, and cut the prices of water and natural gas for other smaller enterprises.

China to help key industries return to work ‘as soon as possible’ 

China’s cabinet said workers in key industries must be helped to return to work as soon as possible in order to resume the production of vital food and medical supplies disrupted by the coronavirus outbreak, state broadcaster CCTV reported.

The state council’s special coronavirus group ordered railways, airlines and other public transport to take a coordinated approach and minimise the risk of transmitting disease. 

It also said workers should return in “batches” and not all at once in order to reduce infection risks.

Spain confirms its second coronavirus case

A British man has tested positive for coronavirus in the Spanish island of Mallorca, the second case of the the new virus to be confirmed in the country, Spain’s National Centre for Microbiology said.

The patient is one of four members of a British family taken into observation in Mallorca on Friday after coming into contact with someone in France who was subsequently diagnosed with the virus.

Read more about the confirmed cases. 

Final British evacuation flight from Wuhan lands in UK 

Britain’s final evacuation flight from the Chinese city of Wuhan, the epicentre of a coronavirus outbreak, landed at a Royal Air Force base in central England.

The British government said on Saturday the plane had more than 200 people on board, including non-British nationals.

The passengers also included staff who facilitated the flight as well as medics. They will be quarantined for 14 days. 

Schools in China’s Hebei to remain shut until March – state media

The northern Chinese province of Hebei will keep its schools shut until at least March 1 to control the coronavirus outbreak, the Communist Party-run People’s Daily newspaper said, citing the local education bureau.

Hebei, which surrounds the capital Beijing, is among several provinces and municipalities to extend the school shutdown until the end of the month, with others including Shandong, Jiangsu and Shanghai.

Hong Kong lifts quarantine on cruise ship 

Hong Kong has lifted a quarantine on the World Dream cruise ship after clearing all its crew members of the new virus.

The ship, which has 1,800 mostly Hong Kong passengers and an equal number of crew members, had been placed under quarantine since it docked on Wednesday after eight mainland Chinese passengers on a voyage last month were diagnosed with the virus.

Port official Leung Yiu-hon said tests on all 1,800 crew members were completed ahead of schedule and were negative.

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