China deploys army medics as virus death toll mounts to 41

China deploys army medics as virus death toll mounts to 41
China deploys army medics as virus death toll mounts to 41

We show you our most important and recent visitors news details China deploys army medics as virus death toll mounts to 41 in the following article

Hind Al Soulia - Riyadh - BEIJING — The death toll from China’s coronavirus outbreak on Saturday rose to 41 as millions spent their normally festive Lunar New Year holiday under lockdown.

In order to arrest the spread of viral outbreak, the Chinese army deployed medical specialists on Saturday to the epicenter.

More than 1,300 people have been infected globally with a virus traced to a seafood market in the central city of Wuhan that was illegally selling wildlife. Health authorities around the world are scrambling to prevent a pandemic.

Wuhan, a city of 11 million, has been in virtual lockdown since Thursday, with nearly all flights at the airport canceled and checkpoints blocking the main roads leading out of town. Authorities have since imposed transport restrictions on nearly all of Hubei province, which has a population of 59 million.

The country's most important celebration has been all but canceled for some 56 million people as authorities expanded travel bans in central Hubei province, now affecting 18 cities.

On Saturday, when they should have been celebrating, citizens of Wuhan stood in line at a pharmacy to buy masks from employees in full-body protective suits and surgical gloves.

On the eastern outskirts of Wuhan — Hubei's capital and the source of the previously unknown 2019 Novel Coronavirus (2019-nCoV) — police manning a roadblock turned away a handful of vehicles trying to exit the city.

"Nobody can leave," an officer said.

But the police allowed some medical workers who had gone home for the holidays to re-enter the city to help at overwhelmed hospitals.

"They need us to go there, otherwise they will be too exhausted," said one of the women, pulling a suitcase.

But the respiratory contagion continues to spread.

In a dramatic escalation of the central government's involvement, China deployed 450 military medical staff to Wuhan, state media said.

The medics, who arrived on military aircraft late Friday, include doctors with experience combating SARS or Ebola and will be dispatched to hospitals that are reportedly short on beds due to a crush of infected patients and worried locals.

The National Health Commission also ordered nationwide measures to detect people carrying the virus on planes, trains and buses across the country.

"Everyone is just trying to protect themselves," said a man in a surgical mask at a Wuhan pharmacy where customers were stocking up on masks, gloves and disinfectant.

But the man, who declined to give his name, expressed confidence in Chinese authorities.

"The government is handling this. It's not a problem."

The virus has caused global concern because of its similarity to SARS (Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome), which killed hundreds across mainland China and Hong Kong in 2002-2003 and spread to a number of other countries.

The virus has also been detected in Thailand, Vietnam, Singapore, Japan, South Korea, Taiwan, Nepal, Malaysia, France, the United States and Australia.

Beijing's Forbidden City, Shanghai Disneyland, and a section of the Great Wall are among many attractions that have closed as a precaution.

The New Year is usually a joyous occasion for family reunions, but not for many in Wuhan.

"Usually we celebrate as a family. Now, because of the virus I'm not even visiting my parents," said Wang Fang, a 49-year-old Wuhan native.

"It'll be great just to be able to make it through (the outbreak)."

China's aggressive response has won praise, especially compared to its handling of SARS, when it was accused of reacting sluggishly and stonewalling the international community.

"China has been working very hard to contain the Coronavirus," US President Donald tweeted, hours after the United States confirmed its second case.

"The United States greatly appreciates their efforts and transparency," he added.

"It will all work out well."

The virus emerged at a bad time for containment, with hundreds of millions of Chinese rushing home for the holiday.

The timing could limit the economic impact, however, since much of China normally shuts down anyway during the roughly weeklong break.

The World Health Organization on Thursday stopped short of declaring a global emergency, which would have prompted greater international cooperation, including possible trade and travel restrictions.

Wuhan resembles a ghost town due to the clampdown, but hospitals bustled with worried patients being screened by staff wearing full-body protective suits. — Agencies

Medical staff attend to a patient, in Wuhan, China, on Saturday. — Courtesy photo


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