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China Death Toll at 80, More Cases Emerge Globally: Virus Update

Bloomberg News

(Bloomberg) -- The novel coronavirus spread further as China reported an increase in fatalities and infections, and the country extended the Lunar New Year holiday by three days until Sunday.

China’s President Xi Jinping on Saturday ordered a faster response, sending teams into hard-hit areas to push local officials to strengthen prevention and containment. Chinese Premier Li Keqiang is visiting Wuhan Monday as the government comes under pressure to combat an epidemic that shows little sign of slowing down.

About 2,744 cases in China, at least 80 deaths: Tracking the outbreakTrack business and travel disruptionsQuickTake: Learn more about the virusRead about the global race to contain this killer bug

Here are the latest developments:

Australia cases rise but won’t halt flights from China (12:32 p.m. HKT)

Confirmed cases rose to five - four in New South Wales and one in Victoria. One of the cases in NSW is not related to travel from Wuhan but from contact with a confirmed case in another Chinese province, the state’s Chief Health Officer Kerry Chant told reporters.

Mongolia closes border to halt virus spread (11:42 a.m. HKT)

Mongolia has closed border crossings for auto vehicles and pedestrian traffic from Monday to halt the spread of novel coronavirus, Reuters reports, citing state-media Montsame. Schools have been shut till March 2 and the government has called for all public gatherings to be canceled.

Hong Kong confirms eight virus patient (10:37 a.m. HKT)

The number of those affected with novel coronavirus has increased to eight.

Hong Kong stops work on proposed quarantine center (10:16 a.m. HKT)

The Hong Kong government halted work to use a housing estate as a possible coronavirus quarantine facility, after violent protests at the site showed outbreak fears becoming a new source of unrest for the city.

A few hundred protesters in surgical masks initially barricaded a road in the Fanling district to object to a proposal to use the unoccupied Fai Ming housing development as an emergency medical facility. Some said the site was too close to their homes, while others complained that approved applicants risked losing their flats in the estate should it be implemented.

China reports increase in number affected (9:30 a.m. HKT)

Confirmed cases rose to 2,744 on the mainland, the National Health Commission said Monday.

China reports rise in Hubei deaths (8:19 a.m. HKT)

Another 24 people have died in Hubei province, according to China’s CCTV. The latest information brings the total death toll in mainland China to 80.

The report said 371 new cases have been confirmed in the province as of Jan. 26. Wuhan, which is at the center of the virus outbreak, is located in Hubei.

China CDC advises extending holiday (5:01 p.m. HKT)

Gao Fu, head of the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention, told reporters that the agency is advising that the Lunar New Year holiday ending Jan. 30 be extended due to the virus. The decision will depend on how the situation develops, he said.

Beijing will lengthen the winter break for schools from kindergarten to college, People’s Daily reported, citing the city’s education bureau.

China says pathogen’s transmission is increasing (4:25 p.m. HKT)

Chinese authorities on Sunday told reporters the virus isn’t yet under control despite aggressive steps by authorities to limit movement for millions of people who live in cities near the center of the outbreak. Officials said information on the new virus is limited even though the pathogen was identified relatively quickly, and its transmission is increasing.

The government said it will hold daily press briefings on the situation.

China bans wildlife trade (2:36 p.m. HKT)

China banned the shipping and sale of wild animals starting Sunday and said it will quarantine breeding sites. Trade will be forbidden in markets, supermarkets, restaurants and online, the market supervision administration, agricultural ministry and forestry bureau said in a statement.

It also warned people against consuming wild animals. The new coronavirus was first found in people who shopped or worked at a so-called wet market in the central city of Wuhan, where live animals were sold.

China has tightened controls on the sale of exotic animals, considered nourishing in some parts of the country, though some are still sold surreptitiously.

(An earlier version was corrected to fix a wrong timestamp)

To contact Bloomberg News staff for this story: Jeff Sutherland in Tokyo at jsutherlan13@bloomberg.net

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Rachel Chang at wchang98@bloomberg.net, Bhuma Shrivastava

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