China’s National Health Commission says the coronavirus outbreak in the country has killed 259 people.
With more than 11,000 infections in China as of Friday, 137 cases have been reported in other countries.
The central province of Hubei, the centre of the epidemic, is under a virtual quarantine, with roads sealed off and public transport shut down.
In Australia, Prime Minister Scott Morrison said the country will deny entry to all foreign nationals travelling from mainland China from Saturday.
(SOUNDBITE) (English) AUSTRALIAN PRIME MINISTER SCOTT MORRISON, SAYING:
“Well, our first responsibility is Australians and Australia’s national interests, and that means the health of Australians and their wellbeing and that is what is driving our decisions.”
Australian citizens and permanent residents returning home are exempt from the ban but are required to isolate themselves for 14 days after their arrival.
Australian authorities have identified ten coronavirus cases in Australia, but no deaths.
In Europe, Spain confirmed the country’s first case after a man was diagnosed on the remote island of La Gomera in the Canaries on Friday (January 31).
The patient is part of a group of five people taken into observation on the island and isolated, after it was found some of them had come into contact with a German man diagnosed with the virus.
There are currently six known cases in Germany.
A number of businesses have also enforced bans.
Qatar Airways has suspended flights to mainland China and the Hyatt hotel chain said it was extending its cancellation policy for Chinese travellers and hotels by nearly three weeks to the end of February.
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