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.
On Thursday, a coronavirus patient died in nearby Hebei province – making it the first death outside Hubei. Another death was later confirmed in the remote province of Heilongjiang. 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. Travel restrictions vary from city to city – though many cities have suspended transport services.
In Wuhan, the capital of Hubei – and the place where the virus emerged – all bus, subway and ferry services have been suspended and all outbound planes and trains cancelled. Wuhan – home to around 11 million people – is now rapidly building a new 1,000 bed hospital to deal with the increasing number of victims.
Authorities have also cancelled major public events in other parts of the country, including shut down of the Forbidden City, Beijing’s palace complex, cancellation of traditional temple fairs in Beijing, cancellation of an international carnival in Hong Kong, cancellation of annual football tournament in Hong Kong and cancellation of all public Lunar New Year celebrations in Macau.
Many authorities have announced screening measures for passengers from China, including on Thursday the major airport hubs of Dubai and Abu Dhabi. Taiwan has banned people arriving from Wuhan and the US state department warned American travellers to exercise increased caution in China.