China has extended the transport restrictions to seven more cities in Hubei province to contain the spread of the coronavirus.
Medical professionals consider Wuhan, the capital of the Hubei province, to be the epicentre of the coronavirus outbreak. The virus has claimed 25 lives so far and infected 830 people.
Recently, China shut down all modes of transport to and from Wuhan city.
The South China Morning Post reported that the cities of Huanggang, Ezhou, Chibi, Xiantao, Qianjiang, Zhijiang and Lichuan are also enforcing a lockdown.
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Huanggang has suspended all rail and bus services and asked residents not to travel out of the city. Ezhou closed its rail stations while Xiantao stopped all modes of transport and installed thermal screening.
With these measures, China has quarantined around 20 million people.
Following the outbreak of coronavirus, airports around the world have started screening passengers arriving from China, including Hong Kong.
The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has issued a ‘Warning – Level 3’ for all travel to Wuhan.
The CDC has advised travellers to ‘avoid all nonessential travel’ to the city. China has issued a Level 1 warning to practise usual precautions in its other cities.
On 22 January, the World Health Organization (WHO) postponed a decision on whether the coronavirus outbreak is an international health emergency, stating that more information is required after the emergency committee members had split opinions.
In the meeting yesterday, members of the committee said that the situation does not constitute a ‘Public Health Emergency of International Concern (PHEIC)’, but also that the committee should meet again in a few days to examine the situation.
China has also cancelled its Lunar New Year celebrations which attract hundreds of tourists from around the world.