Death tolls rises to 80, as China records thousands of new cases.
An outbreak of a new coronavirus that began in the Chinese city of Wuhan has already killed 80 people in China. The virus has since spread around the world. But of the nearly 3,000 people who have so far contracted the virus, the vast majority live in China.
The death toll in China had risen to at least 80 by Monday. The majority of those deaths, 76 people, were in the central province of Hubei, the epicenter of the outbreak. Shanghai, a city of 24 million, recorded its first death on Saturday.
Across China there have been 2,744 confirmed cases, of which 1,423 cases were in Hubei.
The youngest confirmed case is a 9-month-old girl in Beijing.
The mayor of Wuhan, the provincial capital of Hubei, said there were about 3,000 patients in the city being treated for the virus. Half of those patients, he said, would eventually test positive for the disease.
Thailand and Hong Kong have each reported eight cases of infection; the United States, Australia and Macau have five each; Taiwan, Singapore, Japan and Malaysia each have reported four; France has three; Vietnam and South Korea have two, and Canada and Nepal have one each.
China extends long Lunar New Year holiday to limit travel.
In an effort to temporarily limit travel, the Chinese government extended the weeklong Lunar New Year holiday by three days, meaning it will go through next Sunday rather than ending on Thursday.
The holiday, China’s biggest annual celebration, began on Saturday. Workers will now get an additional three days off, returning to work on Feb. 3.
Hundreds of millions of Chinese people travel during the holiday, either for tourism or to visit family. The week, known in China as Spring Festival, typically includes large public events, but many festivities have been canceled this year.
Many tourist attractions have been shuttered including the Disney theme parks in Shanghai and Hong Kong, along with the Forbidden City and sections of the Great Wall in Beijing.
China’s No. 2 official visits the outbreak epicenter as anger at the government grows.
China’s second-highest ranking official, Premier Li Keqiang, on Monday visited Wuhan, the epicenter of the outbreak, to inspect local efforts to contain the disease, the government said.
In pictures released by the state-run news media, Mr. Li is seen wearing a face mask and a blue protective gown while posing for photos with health workers. He was also seen speaking with a patient in an isolation ward via video conference.
The premier’s visit comes as the central government is under increasing pressure to prove it is adequately coping with the crisis. Videos circulating on Chinese social media, show doctors straining to handle the enormous workload and hospital corridors loaded with patients, some of whom appear to already be dead.
Rare signs of public anger have also percolated on social media, as Wuhan residents complained that an impromptu ban on cars in the city left many unable to get access to food and hospitals.
On Saturday, Xi Jinping, China’s leader, convened a meeting of the Politburo’s standing committee, the senior-most executive body of the Chinese Communist Party, as a demonstration of the government’s hands-on approach to the outbreak.
Hospitals in Wuhan have posted messages online urgently appealing for medical equipment. Mr. Li, who has been assigned to oversee the national response to the outbreak, pledged to provide Wuhan’s health centers with 20,000 pairs of safety goggles.