China said on Monday that the death toll from a deadly outbreak of coronavirus jumped to 80 as the hard-hit province of Hubei announced 24 new fatalities, as it expanded measures to keep people at home during what is usually the country’s biggest holiday season.
Total confirmed cases nationwide rose sharply to 2,744, officials said.
While there were no new deaths confirmed outside Hubei, the national tally of verified infections rose by 769, about half of them in Hubei, the National Health Commission said. It said 461 of those infected were in a serious condition.
China has sealed off Hubei in the country’s centre, an unprecedented operation affecting tens of millions of people which is intended to slow the transmission of the respiratory virus.
The end of the Lunar New Year holiday, China’s busiest travel season, was pushed back to Sunday from Friday to “effectively reduce mass gatherings” and “block the spread of the epidemic”, a cabinet statement said. Schools will also postpone reopening until further notice, it added.
Cases have been confirmed in the semi-autonomous territories of Macau and Hong Kong, where the government is turning holiday camps into quarantine centres.
South Korea confirmed its fourth case on Monday.
Scattered cases have also been confirmed in Thailand, Taiwan, Japan, the United States, Vietnam, Singapore, Malaysia, Nepal, France, Canada and Australia. The US has confirmed cases in Washington state, Chicago, southern California and Arizona. (Aljazeera)