The first case of the new coronavirus has been confirmed in Germany as the Chinese capital also said it suffered its first death from the disease.
China’s capital today recorded its first death from a deadly coronavirus as it struggles to contain a rapidly spreading disease that has sparked global alarm.
Countries around the wold have been scrambling to evacuate their citizens from the epicentre of the epidemic.
The first case in Germany was confirmed in the southern Bavaria region today.
A spokesman for the Bavarian health ministry said: ‘A man in the Starnberg region has been infected with the new coronavirus.’
He is under surveillance in an isolation ward, the ministry added.
The fatality in Beijing raises the death toll from the new virus to 82, with more than 2,700 people infected across the nation.
Cases have been identified in more than a dozen other countries, including the first confirmed patients in Canada, the United States, Japan and Sri Lanka.
Security personnel wearing protective clothing check the temperature of people with an advanced thermo camera (centre) at a subway station entrance in Beijing today
People wearing protective masks standing next to their suitcases at the Beijing railway station in Beijing. The Chinese capital suffered its first confirmed death from the disease today
Today the French government said it would fly its citizens in Wuhan to France and quarantine them there.
Japan also was preparing to fly its citizens out of Wuhan, and Germany was considering evacuating its estimated 90 citizens in Wuhan.
The US urged its citizens to ‘reconsider’ all travel to China and told them not to go to central Hubei province, where the pneumonia-like virus emerged. Mongolia closed its vast border to vehicles from China.
In a sign of mounting official concern, Premier Li Keqiang visited ground zero to oversee containment efforts in Wuhan, a city of 11 million people where the disease first appeared late last month.
The government has sealed off Wuhan and other cities in Hubei province, effectively trapping tens of millions of people including thousands of foreigners, in a bid to contain the virus as the Lunar New Year holiday unfolds.
China decided to extend the holiday, initially due to end on January 30, for three days to limit population flows and control the epidemic.
US President Donald Trump said the United States has offered Beijing ‘any help that is necessary’ in combatting the virus.
The health commission in the capital said a 50 year-old-man who visited Wuhan died of respiratory failure on Monday, less than three weeks after visiting the city.
Security staff wearing protective clothing talking with subway staff wearing a mask at a subway station entrance in Beijing today
More than 700 new infections were confirmed in the country, while the number of suspected cases doubled over a 24-hour period to nearly 6,000.
The youngest infected patient was a nine-month-old baby being treated in Beijing.
In Wuhan, AFP reporters saw construction workers labouring on one of two field hospitals that China is racing to complete by next week to relieve overcrowded facilities swamped with people waiting for medical attention.
On day five under quarantine, residents shouted ‘Go Wuhan’ from their windows, according to videos posted online, and a building lit up the night sky with the words in red.
‘I’m getting more concerned every day,’ Do Quang Duy, a 32-year-old Vietnamese masters student in Wuhan said.
The National Health Commission said 2,744 cases in mainland China were confirmed by midnight Sunday. The youngest is a nine-month-old girl in Beijing.
China’s health minister, Ma Xiaowei, warned Sunday that the country was entering a ‘crucial stage’ as ‘it seems like the ability of the virus to spread is getting stronger’.
Wuhan is building two hospitals, one with 1,500 beds and another with 1,000, for the growing number of patients. The first is scheduled to be finished next week.
The virus is from the coronavirus family that includes the common cold but also more severe illnesses like SARS and Middle East Respiratory Syndrome.
The new virus causes cold- and flu-like symptoms, including cough and fever, and in more severe cases, shortness of breath and pneumonia.
The virus is thought to have spread to people from wild animals sold at a market in Wuhan.
On Sunday, authorities banned trade in wild animals and urged people to stop eating meat from them.