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Iran Press TV

Medics rushing to China's Wuhan to help fight virus

Iran Press TV

Wednesday, 29 January 2020 7:15 AM

Medical teams from across China are going to the city of Wuhan, where a deadly virus has originated, to help treat the increasing number of patients, as the disease spreads across the country and the rest of the world.

Medical teams, comprising hundreds of medical workers, are being dispatched to Wuhan to fight the coronavirus epidemic at its source.

"All of us volunteered to go for the fight, as epidemic control is an order," said Gong Mei, a chief physician of the Critical Care Medicine Department of the Inner Mongolia People's Hospital. "In particular, the severe patients need medical personnel the most, so it is incumbent upon us to do so."

Two hospitals with special respiratory wards are also being built in Wuhan at a highly accelerated pace.

On Wednesday, 25 new deaths were reported in Hubei Province, of which Wuhan is the provincial capital, bringing the total death toll from the disease to 132.

Confirmed infection cases across China also reached 5,974 in 31 provincial-level regions by the end of Tuesday, health authorities said Wednesday. Among the patients, 1,239 are currently in critical condition.

The virus has prompted the Chinese government to impose partial or full lock-downs on Chinese cities, affecting millions of people. The restrictions are taking place during the Lunar New Year holidays, the most important in China, which began on Saturday.

Hong Kong closes borders to mainland

The Chinese territory of Hong Kong has imposed severe restrictions on travel to the mainland to contain the spread of the coronavirus. The government said on Tuesday that it would "temporarily" close some of its borders with China and stop issuing travel permits to Chinese tourists.

Hong Kong also suspended services for the high-speed rail that connects the city with the mainland, as well as trains to Guangzhou, Shanghai, and the capital, Beijing.

Eight people have so far been diagnosed with the infection in Hong Kong.

Cases have also been detected beyond China's borders, including at least five in the United States and five in Australia.

Foreign governments are working to evacuate their citizens from China.

Australian Prime Minster Scott Morrison said that his government would be "evacuating all Australians out of Hubei Province," which hosts more than 600 Australian citizens.

Those who are returned from China will be quarantined in the remote Christmas Island immigration detention center for up to 14 days, Morrison said. The remote Pacific island, known for its notorious detention facilities, has been housing asylum seeker, who arrived on Australian shores by boat.

UAE confirms first case

The United Arab Emirates (UAE) on Wednesday became the first Persian Gulf country to have reported a case.

It confirmed a first case of the viral disease on Wednesday after a family tested positive for the coronavirus on arrival from Wuhan, according to the Health Ministry. It was not immediately clear how many people had been infected, but the ministry said the patients were in stable condition and under medical observation.

Iran issues instructions for citizens in China

Iran's Foreign Ministry spokesman Seyyed Abbas Mousavi said on Tuesday that necessary recommendations had been issued for Iranians in China.

Mousavi said committees had been established in the Iranian Embassy in Beijing and Iran's Consulate in Shanghai to provide assistance to the Iranian nationals.

He said that the embassy in Beijing was in contact with Iranian students in Wuhan, providing them with food and other necessary supplies, as the city with the population of 11 million people is facing shortages of medical supplies.

Russia, China developing vaccine

A Russian diplomatic mission in China said on Wednesday that Russian and Chinese scientists had begun developing a vaccine for the disease.

The Russian consulate in Guangzhou City said the Chinese side had handed over the virus genome to Russia, which had allowed scientists "to rapidly develop express-tests that make it possible to identify the virus in the human body within two hours."

It was not clear if scientists from both countries were working together or separately.

Russia, which has not had any confirmed cases of the infection, has been in talks with Beijing about evacuating its nationals from Wuhan and Hubei Province.

Russian authorities have closed some land border crossings to China in the Russian Far East.

Epidemic disrupting car industry

The virus outbreak has also started disrupting the global car industry, as many major companies with operations in China restricted travel and asked their employees to stay home.

Japanese automaker Toyota Motor Corp's production plants in China announced they will stay closed for the next ten days.

"Given the various factors including the guidelines by the local and region governments…, we have decided to halt operations in our plants in China until February 9," Maki Niimi, a spokesman for the company, said.

British Airways halts flights to Beijing

British Airways said it had suspended booking on direct flights to Beijing and Shanghai due to the outbreak.

"The situation regarding the new coronavirus in China is constantly developing and tonight the UK Foreign & Commonwealth Office position has changed, advising against all but essential travel to China," the airline said.

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