Third Chinese city put under lock-down because of virus outbreak

Medical staff check the body temperature of passengers as they arrive at a railway station in Yingtan City, Jiangxi province, China, 22 January 2020 (issued 23 January 2020). TEPA-EFE/HU GUOLIN

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A third Chinese city will go into lock-down in an effort to control the spread of a new virus which has left 17 dead in the country.

Authorities have suspended planes and trains in and out of Wuhan – a city of 11 million people – as well as buses, subways and ferries.

Similar measures will take effect in nearby Huanggang, a city of six million, as of midnight and now the city of Ezhou  has also been added.

There are more than 500 confirmed cases of the virus, which has spread abroad.

Countries around the world have announced they will be screening travellers for signs of infection.

See also: Chinese city of Wuhan put in isolation over virus outbreak

Wuhan is at the centre of the outbreak and believed to be where the virus originated.

Residents have been told not to leave.

Authorities banned transport links from Wuhan, the capital of Hubei province, on Thursday, as well as the nearby central Chinese cities of Huanggang and Ezhou, suspending buses, subways, ferries and shutting the airport and train stations to outgoing passengers.

Meanwhile the state-run Beijing News said the capital had cancelled events including two well-known lunar new year temple fairs. Separately, the country’s railway operator, China State Railway Group, said passengers would be able to receive full refunds on tickets nationwide starting on Friday.

The lock-down comes as millions of Chinese people travel across the country for the upcoming Lunar New Year holiday.

All outbound flights from Wuhan have been suspended as of Thursday. A handful of inbound flights still appear to be operating, though many flights have been cancelled.

Several regional airlines – including Malaysia’s AirAsia and Singapore Airlines’ budget carrier Scoot – have announced a temporary halt to flights to and from Wuhan.

Read more via BBC/Reuters/AP

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