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Chinese president warns of 'grave situation' as coronavirus death toll rises

EPA-EFE/FRED DUFOUR / POOL POOL
China's President Xi Jinping waits during a signing meeting with Maldives President Abdulla Yameen at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, China, 07 December 2017.

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Chinese President Xi Jinping called the new coronavirus outbreak a “grave situation”. The death toll rose to 56 and more than 2000 people across the globe are infected.
The country’s government stepped up efforts to restrict travel and public gatherings. It also increased the support with medical staff and supplies to the epicenter, the Wuhan region.
“We’re sure to be able to win in this battle to beat the epidemic through prevention and control”, Xi said. Local media reported he also announced the establishment of a task force to address the crisis.
Wuhan, a city in the central China Hubei province with roughly 11 million citizens, has been quarantined since 23 January and travel in or out is of the area was canceled. The city’s mayor, however, warned that the initial “warnings were not sufficient”.
It seems the Chinese government has taken a completely different approach since the 2002-2003 SARS epidemic, when it was blamed for attempting to cover up the spread of the disease, resulting in the deaths of 744 people.
This time, the World Health Organisation said China was being transparent and cooperative in the efforts to stop the spread of the virus. The government also reported five cases in Hong Kong, two in Macao and three in Taiwan.
Small numbers of cases have been reported in Thailand, Japan, South Korea, France, the US, Vietnam, Singapore, Malaysia, Nepal and Australia.

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