Coronavirus deaths rise to 41 in China as outbreak spreads to 11 other countries
25 January 2020, 04:20 | Updated: 25 January 2020, 14:17
The number of people killed by the coronavirus has risen to 41, with the outbreak now having spread from China to 11 other countries.
China's National Health Commission reported a jump in the number of people infected to 1,287.
On Saturday, Chinese President Xi Jinping held a meeting of his party to talk about measures to fight the outbreak, saying that the country is facing a "grave situation" and that the virus is "accelerating its spread".
All 41 coronavirus deaths have been in China, including 39 in the Hubei province, the centre of the outbreak, one in Hebei and one in Heilongjiang.
The virus has also been detected in Thailand, Vietnam, Singapore, Japan, South Korea, Taiwan, Nepal, France, the US, Australia and Malaysia.
Health authorities across the world are scrambling to prevent a global pandemic.
Australia announced three confirmed cases on Saturday. One, a Chinese man in his 50s who returned from Wuhan on 19 January, is in a stable condition in hospital.
France said that three people had fallen ill with the virus - the disease's first appearance in Europe.
The US reported its second case, involving a Chicago woman in her 60s who was hospitalised after returning from China.
Malaysia has also confirmed three cases. Health Minister Dzulkefly Ahmad said the people infected were Chinese nationals related to a 66-year-old man who was confirmed by Singapore health authorities to have tested positive for the virus.
Mr Dzulkefly said the individuals were the man's 65-year-old wife and his two grandsons, aged 11 and 12.
Medics are trying to trace 2,000 people who have flown from Wuhan to the UK in the weeks since the coronavirus outbreak.
Liang Wudong, a 62-year-old doctor at Hubei Xinhua Hospital who had been at the front-line of the coronavirus outbreak, died from the virus, according to China Global Television Network.
It is unclear if his death has been counted in the official toll of 41.
Transportation was shut down in Wuhan, the city with a population of 11 million where the outbreak originated, along with 12 other cities in central Hubei province.
The unprecedented lockdown kept 36 million people from travelling as China's most festive holiday, the Lunar New Year, began on Saturday, with authorities cancelling a host of events.
Carrie Lam, Hong Kong's leader, has also cancelled all official new year celebrations in the province amid the outbreak.
Airports across the world have stepped up screening of passengers from China, though some health experts have questioned their effectiveness.
Hospitals in Wuhan struggled with a flood of patients and a lack of supplies, while videos circulating online showed throngs of people in chaos as they lined up for examinations.
Some complained that family members had been turned away at hospitals that were at capacity.
Authorities in Wuhan and elsewhere have put out calls for medicine, disinfection equipment, masks, goggles, gowns and other protective gear.
Officials are also rapidly constructing two new 1,000-bed hospitals to deal with the crisis, which will be completed by 3 February.
Hubei's health authority said on Saturday there were 658 patients affected by the virus in medical care, with 57 in a critical condition.
A TV report said on Saturday that experts will be deployed to hospitals in the area, and that the ruling party have agreed that finances will not get in the way of treatment.
The US Centres for Disease Control and Prevention said it had 63 patients under investigation, with two confirmed cases - both in individuals who had travelled to Wuhan.
Human-to-human transmission has been observed in the virus, leading health authorities to believe it originated in a market in Wuhan which traded illegally in wildlife.
The World Health Organisation (WHO) declared coronavirus an "emergency in China" this week, however did not declare it of international concern.
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The virus has sparked concerns over the many unknowns surrounding it, such as how dangerous it is and how easily it spreads between people.
It can cause pneumonia, which can be deadly in some cases, and symptoms include fever, difficulty breathing and coughing.
The WHO said most of the fatalities have been in elderly patients, with many having pre-existing conditions.
As China works to contain the outbreak, some sections of the Great Wall near Beijing will be closed as well as other tourist attractions across the country, including Shanghai Disneyland.