China scrambles to find beds for virus patients as deaths hit 563
BEIJING, China — China scrambled to find bed space for thousands of newly infected patients on Thursday, as the death toll from the novel coronavirus soared to 563.
Two dozen countries now have confirmed cases of the coronavirus that emerged from a market selling exotic animals at the end of last year.
At the Chinese epicentre of the epidemic in Hubei province, the locked-down city of Wuhan was
The first hospital, with 1,000 beds, opened earlier this week, and authorities said they were converting public buildings into temporary medical facilities to deal with the influx of sick people.
The city of 11 million is facing a "severe" lack of beds, said Hu Lishan, a senior official in Wuhan, noting that there were 8,182 patients admitted to 28 hospitals that have
There is also a shortage of equipment and materials, Hu told reporters.
The central government has announced measures intended to ensure the supply of vital medical resources, with tax breaks for manufacturers of equipment needed to fight the epidemic.
"We must make all-out efforts across the country to meet the need for essential medical supplies and medical professionals in Hubei Province," Premier Li Keqiang said, according to the official
BGI Group, a genome sequencing company based in southern China, said it opened on Wednesday a lab in Wuhan able to test up to 10,000 people per day for the virus.
Cities hunker down
Tens of millions of people in Hubei and surrounding provinces are now facing swingeing restrictions on their movement as authorities try to slow the spread of the virus.
They include residents of Hangzhou, a city just 175 kilometres (110 miles) from Shanghai, where fences block streets and loudspeakers tell people: "Don't go out!"
In some cities, even in the far north of the country, inhabitants are being offered cash rewards to inform on people who come from Hubei.
In Nanchang, the capital of Jiangxi province which borders Hubei, pharmacists must send reports to the authorities on anyone
Cruise ship infections
While the death toll continues to rise, and now includes two people outside mainland China, health experts have stressed that at two percent, 2019-
But panic has risen worldwide with countries barring arrivals from China and governments warning against travel to the country, while airlines have halted flights.
At least 20 people on one cruise ship off the Japanese coast have tested positive for the new coronavirus, with thousands more staring at a two-week seaborne isolation.
In Hong Kong, 3,600 passengers and crew spent the night marooned on the cruise ship World Dream as authorities conducted health checks after three former passengers tested positive for the virus.
Italy announced that passengers on every international flight would
The World Health Organization, which has declared a global health emergency, has called for $675 million to fight the novel coronavirus.
"Our message to the international community is