(Reuters) – China is putting on lockdown a city of 11 million people considered the epicenter of a new coronavirus outbreak that has killed 17 and infected nearly 600, as health authorities around the world scramble to prevent a global pandemic.
Health officials fear the transmission rate will accelerate as hundreds of millions of Chinese travel at home and abroad during week-long holidays for the Lunar New Year, which begins on Saturday. Thus, Wuhan’s city government said it would shut down all urban transport networks and suspend outgoing flights from 10 a.m. (0200 GMT) today.
The virus has been reported in other major cities including Beijing, Shanghai and Hong Kong, and several other countries. Of eight known cases worldwide, Thailand has confirmed four, while Japan, South Korea, Taiwan and the United States have reported one each.
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