Egypt confirms first case of coronavirus

Chinese paramilitary police officers wearing protective gear transfer pails of disinfectant in central Hubei province

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

"Those who refuse to accept home or centralised observation and other prevention and control measures will be held accountable under the law", it said. World Health Organization chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus told reporters Friday in Geneva he expects a team to arrive in China this weekend and that "particular attention will be paid to understanding transmission of the virus, the severity of the disease and the impact of ongoing measures".

The National Health Commission reported five other deaths and 217 new cases elsewhere in China, as the number of new patients outside Hubei fell for a 10th straight day.

A National Health Commission official Liang Wannian told a news conference the government would continue to try to contain the spread of virus in Wuhan.

Many travel restrictions are still in place and many factories have yet to reopen.

The number of new deaths rose slightly to 143, bringing the total fatalities in mainland China to 1,523.

Almost 64,000 people are now recorded as having fallen ill from the virus in China, with officials revealing that 1,716 health workers had been infected as of Tuesday.

State Councillor Wang Yi, who also serves as China's foreign minister, acknowledged that coronavirus was a huge challenge, but defended Beijing's management of the epidemic on Friday and lashed out at the "overreaction" of some countries.

"Through our efforts, the epidemic is overall under control", he said.

Canteen lunches are banned in favour of boxed meals eaten at desks.

The number, however, was nearly half those reported the previous day.

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". One person has died in Hong Kong and one in the Philippines.

Medics have made great sacrifices and braved the virus outbreak on the front line, Wang said, expressing respect to the medical workers.

The virus is killing about 2% of those infected, but has spread faster than other respiratory viruses that emerged this century.

A report published by the China Cuisine Association said scare over the epidemic has cost the catering sector 500 billion yuan in lost earnings during the week-long Lunar New Year holiday, with 93 per cent of restaurants shutting down operations.

The mission, including global experts, will also look at how and when more than 1,700 health workers contracted the virus.

Cases have been recorded in countries including Britain, Japan and the US.

The biggest cluster of infections outside of China has been on a cruise liner quarantined in a Japanese port, with 218 people on board confirmed as infected and hospitalized. 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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