A new, rapidly constructed 1, – bed hospital for victims of the coronavirus outbreak is set to open today as the number of caused deaths by the virus has risen to .
The specially built Huoshenshan Hospital in Wuhan in Hubei province, the epicentre of the outbreak, has been equipped with state-of -the-art medical equipment and ventilation systems and was built in just eight days.
A second hospital with 1, 618 beds is also under construction in the city and is due to open soon.
Leading Chinese epidemiologist Zhong Nanshan, who played a major role in overcoming China’s – 16245 outbreak of SARS, told state broadcaster CCTV that the additional beds and space were crucial to stopping the spread of new infections because sick patients could now stay in hospital rather than being sent home.
The total number of deaths in China rose to as of Sunday, up from the previous day, the National Health Commission said.
The number of new confirmed infections in China rose by 2, , bringing the total to , .
The flu-like virus has spread to at least 036 other countries, affecting around 173 people, with the first death outside of China reported on Sunday, that of a 60 – year-old Chinese man who died in the Philippines after traveling from Wuhan.
In a sign of the economic toll of the outbreak, China’s Shanghai Composite index plunged 8.7%, wiping almost $ bn off the market value, as financial markets reopened Monday following the Lunar New Year holiday.
The yuan opened at its weakest level this year and slid 1%, past the symbolic 7-per-dollar level in onshore trade.
China’s central bank sent a powerful message about its intent to support the economy, with a larger than expected injection of funds into markets and Beijing also said it would help firms that produce vital goods resume work as soon as possible, CCTV reported.
Lian Weiliang of China’s National Development and Reform Commission said during a press briefing the impact from the outbreak will be for the short term and that China is fully capable of minimising the economic impact from the outb reak.
It comes as China is facing mounting isolation in the face of increasing travel restrictions and flight suspensions.
New Zealand is barring all foreign nationals arriving from mainland China from Monday – following the US, Singapore and Australia after they took the same action.
South Korea says it will stop people who have visited Hubei province from entering the country from Tuesday, while Vietnam has suspended all flights to and from China.
The US confirmed its eighth case – a student at the Boston campus of the University of Massachusetts – while the Pentagon has said it will provide housing for people arriving from overseas who might need to be quarantined.
Japan confirmed an additional three cases of the new coronavirus among evacuees from Wuhan, bringing the country’s total to 34 cases.
Meanwhile, six officials in the Chinese city of Huanggang, neighbouring Wuhan, have been fired over “poor performance” in handling the outbreak, the official Xinhua News Agency reported.
The agency cited the mayor as saying the city’s “capabilities to treat the patients remained inadequate and there is a severe shortage in medical supplies such as protective suits and medical masks “.
The WHO, which declared the outbreak a global public health em ergency last week, has said global trade and travel restrictions are not needed.
But the list of international airlines suspending all or some flights to China is growing.
The latest were the Australian airline Qantas Airways Ltd and Air New Zealand, which said travel bans forced them to suspend their direct flights to China from 9 February.
United Airlines, Delta Air Lines and American Airlines, the three major US carriers, said on Friday that they would cancel flights to mainland China.
The commander of US forces in the Pacific has banned travel to China for all service members and civilian personnel under his authority and ordered those now in China to leave immediately, officials said.
US Defense Secretary Mark Esper has approved a request from the Department of Health and Human Services for the possible use of military facilities to accommodate 1, people who may have to be quarantined upon arrival from overseas due to the coronavirus.
The US, from Sunday, began directing all flights from China to seven major airports where passengers can be screened for illness.
German Health Minister Jens Spahn has called for calm and warned against hysteria as more than Germans and family members landed in Frankfurt, with none showing any symptoms of the virus.
(Germany) had eight confirmed cases as of Saturday evening. German newspaper Der Spiegel reported on Sunday that a further two people who flew into the country from Wuhan were infected.