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China Expands Virus Lockdown – 23 Million Quarantined

China has widened a lockdown in Hubei province – the centre of the coronavirus outbreak – as the death toll climbed to 26.

At least 10 cities in the central Chinese province, which has a population of 60 million, have travel restrictions in force.

The BBC reports:

On Thursday, a coronavirus patient died in nearby Hebei province – making it the first death outside Hubei. Another death was later confirmed in north-east Heilongjiang province. The north-eastern area borders Russia and is more than 2,000 kilometres (1,200 miles) from Wuhan.

Nationally, there are currently 830 confirmed cases of patients infected with the virus. The lockdown comes on the eve of Lunar New Year – one of the most important dates in the Chinese calendar, when millions of people travel home.

In Shanghai, the Disney Resort said it was “temporarily closing in response to the prevention and control of the disease outbreak”.

Suspected cases are now coming in from around the World, including the UK which now has multiple suspected cases.

What is the Coronavirus?

Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses that can cause respiratory illnesses such as the common cold, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Most people get infected with coronaviruses at one point in their lives, but symptoms are typically mild to moderate. In some cases, the viruses can cause lower-respiratory tract illnesses such as pneumonia and bronchitis. 

These viruses are common amongst animals worldwide, but only a handful of them are known to affect humans. Rarely, coronaviruses can evolve and spread from animals to humans. This is what happened with the coronaviruses known as the Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV) and the severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus (SARS-Cov), both of which are known to cause more severe symptoms.

As of Jan. 23, there are more than 500 confirmed cases and 17 deaths linked to the 2019-nCoV virus in China, according to the BBC.

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