Beijing orders returnees to quarantine as virus death toll hits 1523

Coronavirus: 14-day quarantine ordered for Beijing returnees

Beijing has ordered anyone returning to the city to be quarantined for 14 days or risk punishment in a bid to contain coronavirus.

According to reports, people failing to obey would be punished but it was not immediately clear how that would be enforced, or whether the restrictions would apply to non-residents of Beijing or foreigners arriving from overseas.

The holiday was extended this year to help contain the outbreak.

Wuhan, the city of 11 million people where the outbreak began, has the most acute problem.

Three deaths have been recorded outside mainland China - one in Hong Kong one in the Philippines, and the most recent in Japan.

China's National Health Commission also reported 2,641 new cases of the COVID-19, with the vast majority in hard-hit central Hubei province.

With 500 million people already affected by movement and travel restrictions, President Xi Jinping warned top officials last week that efforts to contain the virus had gone too far and were threatening the economy, sources said.

Of the medical workers, 20,374 are now working in Wuhan, he added.

"Those who refuse to accept home or centralised observation and other prevention and control measures will be held accountable under law", it said. "Everyone in our group has such a strong sense of mission", said 53-year-old Chen Hui, who runs one of the ad hoc ride services.

The virus is killing about 2% of those infected and has spread faster than any other respiratory virus this century.

Out of the 5,090 new cases, 3,095 were said to have been diagnosed through the new methodology.

The civil aviation administration of China organised 13 planes from six Chinese civil aviation companies to transport almost 2,000 medical workers and large quantities of medical supplies to Wuhan on Friday.

Leading health experts from around the world met at WHO to assess the current level of knowledge about the new COVID-19 disease, identify gaps and work together to accelerate and fund priority research needed to help stop this outbreak and prepare for any future outbreaks.

Economists polled by Reuters said China's economic downturn would be short-lived if the outbreak was contained, but expected this quarter would show China's slowest growth rate since the global financial crisis.

China's government said the spike in cases was due to a change in how cases are tabulated.

Alibaba, the first major Chinese company to report quarterly earnings since the emergence of the coronavirus, said Thursday that the outbreak "is having significant impact on China's economy. potentially affecting the global economy".

The ship, owned by Carnival Corp, has been quarantined since arriving in Yokohama, Japan, on February 3, with 3,500 passengers and crew on board, of whom 218 have tested positive for the infection. The figure of new cases included 1,138 clinically diagnosed cases, while the new deaths also included 34 who were clinically diagnosed. Japan's Health Ministry allowed 11 passengers to disembark Friday, saying that those above 80 years of age, with underlying medical conditions as well as those staying in windowless cabins during the 14-day quarantine can stay at a designated facility on shore.

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