Wuhan virus spreads amid Lunar New Years celebrations

The death toll has risen to 18 and 650 individuals are reported to have been infected so far.


NSFW    WUHAN, CHINA — Lunar New Years' festivities pose a great challenge for the Chinese government as it tries to contain the Wuhan coronavirus.

According to Reuters, the coronavirus death toll has now risen to 18, after the death of an 80-year-old victim in Hebei province. The South China Morning Post, citing Hebei Daily, reported the victim had spent more than two months in Wuhan visiting relatives.

This is the first death due to coronavirus infection outside of Hubei province. The number of infected individuals has risen to 650 worldwide.

So far, the virus has been detected in 23 Chinese provinces, four municipalities, Hong Kong, Macau, Thailand, Japan, South Korea, Taiwan, Singapore, Vietnam and the United States.

According to the South China Morning Post, local governments have issued travel bans in eight cities in Hubei which include Wuhan, Huanggang, Ezhou, Chibi, Xiantao, Qianjiang, Zhijiang and Lichuan.

BBC News reports, the city of Wuhan has halted all flight and passenger train services coming in and out of the city as of Thursday, January 23.

The travel ban includes ride-sharing services. Wuhan authorities asked Didi, a Chinese company similar to Uber or Lyft, to stop all ride services starting Friday at noon.

The coronavirus originally spread from wild animals to humans, though there is now evidence that human to human transmission of the virus is possible.

Chinese officials believe that the virus originated from a local seafood market in Wuhan. The market has since been closed for disinfection.

The virus has an incubation period of 5 days.Symptoms of the virus include fever, with some experiencing difficulty breathing. Chest x-rays from infected patients show invasive lesions on both lungs.

However, despite the virus's spread and rising death toll, the World Health Organization said on Thursday that the coronavirus is not an international public health emergency.
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