Coronavirus: China orders travellers quarantined amid outbreak


A Chinese office worker wears a protective mask as she waits to take a public bus after leaving work on 2 March 2020 in Beijing, China

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Authorities are also asking overseas Chinese to reconsider travel plans

Travellers from countries with severe coronavirus outbreaks who arrive in some parts of China will have to undergo a 14-day quarantine, state media say.

Travellers from the virus hotspots of South Korea, Japan, Iran and Italy arriving in the capital will have to be isolated, a Beijing official has said.

Shanghai and Guangdong announced similar restrictions earlier.

Authorities are worried the virus might be imported back into the country.

Although most virus deaths have been in China, Monday saw nine times more new infections outside China than in.

What do I need to know about the coronavirus?

Shanghai said it would require new arrivals from countries with “relatively serious virus conditions” to be isolated, without naming the countries.

Authorities are also asking overseas Chinese to reconsider travel plans.

“For the sake of your family’s health and safety, please strengthen your precautions, carefully decide on your travel plans and minimise mobility,” officials in one southern Chinese province said.

One of the countries worst affected outside China – Italy – on Monday saw a jump in its death toll from 34 to 52.

In other developments:

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Media captionEmpty shelves as coronavirus “panic-buying” hits Australia

What’s the latest?

There are now almost 90,000 cases worldwide in about 70 countries, although the vast majority – just under 90% – remain in China, and most of those are in Hubei province, where the virus originated late last year.

Of the nearly 8,800 cases outside China, 81% are in four countries – Iran, South Korea, Italy and Japan.

Italy raised its death toll by 18 to 52 on Monday, with 1,835 confirmed cases, most of them in the Lombardy and Veneto areas of the north.

Iran reported another 12 deaths on Monday, taking the total there to 66.

Health officials in the US state of Washington said on Monday that four more people had died, bringing the total there to six. They are the only deaths in the US so far. Local officials say they are buying a hotel to become a hospital for isolated patients.

In the UK, where there are 39 confirmed cases, the government is due to set out its plans to tackle the virus.

Portugal, Iceland, Jordan, Tunisia, Armenia, Latvia, Senegal and Andorra confirmed their first cases on Monday.

How deadly is Covid-19?

The WHO says the virus appears to particularly affect those over 60, and people already ill.

In the first large analysis of more than 44,000 cases from China, the death rate was 10 times higher in the very elderly compared to the middle-aged.

Most patients have only mild symptoms and the death rate appears to be between 2% and 5%, the WHO said.

By comparison, seasonal flu has an average mortality rate of about 0.1%, but is highly infectious – with up to 400,000 people dying from it each year.

Other strains of coronavirus, such as Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (Sars) and Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (Mers), have much higher death rates than Covid-19.


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