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Coronavirus outbreak: Number of dead rises to 259 as amount of cases reaches 11,791

The number of people to have died from the coronavirus has risen to 259 as the amount of confirmed cases increased to 11,791, Chinese authorities have said.

The number of dead stood at 213 on Friday morning while the number of confirmed cases was 9,692.

No deaths from the virus have occurred outside China, although cases have been found in at least 23 countries.

The US has declared a public health emergency and taken steps towards stricter rules on entry into the country.

Patients are starting their fortnight long quarantine in the hopes of preventing any further infections in the UK.

Nearly 200 Americans evacuated from China because of the new virus are “very relieved’ to be quarantined at a military base in Southern California for two weeks, one of them said on Friday.


Matthew L McCoy, a theme park designer who lives in China, said: “All of us really want to stay here and make sure we’re all medically clear and the public safe.”

Image: Flight passengers have been seen wearing protective masks in Beijing

Mr McCoy is among the 195 Americans who returned on a charter flight earlier this week from Wuhan, the Chinese city at the centre of the outbreak.

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The State Department is planning more flights to bring Americans out of Wuhan, who will also be quarantined for two weeks.

US Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar has announced President Donald Trump will temporarily bar entry into the US of foreign nationals believed to be a risk of transmitting the virus.

Mr Azar said: “The risk of infection for Americans remains low and with these and our previous actions we are working to keep the risk low.”

The new US restrictions will begin on Sunday afternoon.

Officials in hazmat suits enter York hotel

It comes as Apple said it was temporarily closing all stores in mainland China out of “an abundance of caution”.

Meanwhile, British health officials are urgently trying to trace those who came into contact with the first two people diagnosed with coronavirus in the UK.

Public Health England confirmed that the two people taken ill – who are members of the same family – had been staying at a hotel in York when they became unwell.

The UK evacuated 83 Britons and 27 non-UK nationals from Wuhan, the centre of the outbreak, on Friday.

The British passengers were taken to the Merseyside hospital to be housed in an NHS staff accommodation block with access to the internet.

Image: Alex Azar has said ‘the risk of infection for Americans remains low’

Many other countries, including Australia, South Korea, Singapore and New Zealand, have said they plan to quarantine evacuees for two weeks to avoid spread of the virus.

Russia, Mongolia and North Korea have also announced they will close their land borders with China to guard against the spread of the virus.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) declared about the coronavirus outbreak a global public health emergency on Thursday.

How dangerous is the new ‘mystery’ coronavirus that has killed more than a dozen people in China?

The vast majority of the cases have been in Hubei province and its provincial capital, Wuhan, the epicentre of the outbreak.

China first informed WHO about cases of the new virus in late December.

Symptoms include fever, cough and in more severe cases shortness of breath or pneumonia.

The number of coronavirus cases worldwide has surpassed that of the SARS epidemic, although death rates are lower.


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