U.S. whipping up panic over virus, China says, as Pakistan resumes flights

Hong Kong reports virus death as workers strike at hospitals

The death toll in mainland China from the new type of virus has risen to 425, with the total number of cases now standing at 20,438, officials said Tuesday.

The first death outside of China was reported in the Philippines on February 2, when a 44-year-old Chinese man from Wuhan died from the virus.

The death toll in China from the newly identified virus, which emerged in the city of Wuhan, rose to 361 as of Sunday, up by 57 from a day earlier, the National Health Commission said.

With the epicenter of the outbreak, Wuhan, cut off by rail, air and road to try to contain the virus, the US and other countries were organizing more evacuation flights for their citizens still in the central Chinese city.

The passengers and crew members may be quarantined on the ship if the captain agrees to do so, the official said.

In another example of growing global anxiety, Japan has quarantined a cruise ship carrying 3,711 people and was testing those onboard for the virus after a former passenger was diagnosed with the illness in Hong Kong.

The number of passengers was still being worked out but 263 people had registered to travel, the majority being New Zealand citizens, some Australians and few foreign nationals, specifically from Pacific Island countries, he said. Wuhan Government has said that it will treat patients of mild pneumonia caused by the Novel Coronavirus in shelter hospitals.

She said outside of Hubei, the world is seeing "spillover cases" and wants to make sure we don't have a "second Hubei type of scenario".

The head of the World Health Organization said Monday in Geneva that it was working with Google to ensure that searches about the new virus turned up information from the United Nations health agency first, part of efforts to fight "rumors and misinformation" about the outbreak.

Hundreds of empty beds lined an exhibition centre converted into a makeshift hospital at the epicentre of China's deadly virus epidemic on Tuesday, awaiting coronavirus patients. At least seven people on board said they feel ill, though none have been confirmed to have the virus.

Besides China, the virus has spread to more than 20 countries, including the U.S., the U.K., Singapore, France, Russia, Spain and India.

A specially constructed hospital in Wuhan, designed with 1,000 beds, opened to patients on Monday, while the building of a second hospital, with 1,600 beds, is also scheduled to be completed on Wednesday.

Thailand confirmed six more cases Tuesday, raising its total to 25.

Zhejiang province has confirmed 829 cases - the highest number outside the central region of Hubei, whose capital, Wuhan, is the epicenter of the outbreak.

Hospitals in Hong Kong said they had to cut some services due to striking workers' absences. The Philippines has reported one death from the coronavirus, the first outside of China.

Meanwhile, the Chinese gambling territory of Macau announced Tuesday that it will temporarily shut down all casino operations for two weeks to help curb the spread of the virus.

According to the New York Times, one county in the northern province of Hebei is allegedly offering bounties of 1,000 yuan ($140) for each person who has recently been in Wuhan to be reported by residents.

China's Communist leadership made a rare admission of fallibility on Monday, acknowledging "shortcomings and difficulties exposed in the response to the epidemic".

About 150 cases have been reported in two dozen other countries. Two people have died outside mainland China since the outbreak began.



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