The number of people killed by a new virus in China has risen to 25 – and overall cases to 616, the country has said.
It comes as millions of people prepare to travel domestically and abroad for the country’s lunar new year celebrations which begin at the weekend.
The city of Wuhan, considered the epicentre of the coronavirus outbreak, is in lockdown. And residents in Huanggang, 45 miles away, have been told not to leave the city.
All its transport networks – including rail, bus, underground and ferries – have been suspended, and its 11 million residents have been ordered to wear masks in public places and at work.
“To my knowledge, trying to contain a city of 11 million people is new to science,” said Gauden Galea, the World Health Organisation’s representative in China.
“It has not been tried before as a public health measure. We cannot at this stage say it will or it will not work.”
Overnight, the Chinese government released a breakdown of the details of the previous 17 people known to have been killed by the deadly virus.
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All but two of the 13 men and four women were aged over 60. And 10 of the victims had a pre-existing condition.
Image: The virus is believed to have originated in Wuhan’s seafood market
There is no vaccine for the new viral infection, which can cause pneumonia and can be passed from person to person.
The symptoms include fever, coughing and difficulty breathing.
Though the origin of the virus has yet to be identified, the World Health Organisation (WHO) has said the primary source is probably an animal.
The virus originated in the central city of Wuhan in Hubei province at the end of last year and has since spread to Beijing and Shanghai.
Cases have also been found in the autonomous region of Macau, the US, Thailand, South Korea, Japan, Hong Kong – and three in Taiwan. All of these involve people who had recently been in Wuhan.
Source : Sky News