China virus deaths rise to 80 as Hong Kong bans visitors from worst-hit province

China virus deaths rise to 80 as Hong Kong bans visitors from worst-hit province

SHANGHAI: The death toll from China’s new coronavirus today grew to 80 as residents of Hubei province, where the disease originated, were banned from entering Hong Kong amid global efforts to halt the rapid spread of the outbreak.

The number of deaths from the flu-like virus in Hubei province climbed from 56 to 76 overnight, health commission officials said, with four deaths elsewhere. The total number of confirmed cases in China had risen about 30% to 2,744.

Kicking off the Asian trading day, New Zealand shares fell with travel and tourism-related stocks among the worst performers as the speed of the outbreak’s spread raised alarm over its future impact on movement.

China’s cabinet said it would extend the week-long Lunar New Year holiday by three days to Feb. 2 in a bid to slow the spread of the virus. The Hubei city of Wuhan, the epicenter of the outbreak, is already under virtual lockdown, with severe restrictions on movement in place in several other Chinese cities.

Beijing has called for transparency in managing the crisis, after public trust was eroded by a cover-up of the spread of SARS, a coronavirus that originated in China and killed nearly 800 people globally in 2002 and 2003.

Reuters


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