Wuhan public transportation shut down, people asked not to leave or enter the city

From Thursday morning at 10 a.m., China has shut down public transport and closed the airport in the metropolis of Wuhan, where the new corona virus was probably originated. The government asks citizens to enter or leave the city only in exceptional cases.

In China, seventeen people died of the so-called 2019-nCoV virus and more than 571 others became infected, local authorities said earlier this Wednesday.

The announced measures for the transport network will start tomorrow from 10.00 local time. The population of Wuhan has around 8.9 million people and the city is an important transport hub for China.

It is suspected that the new virus, related to SARS and MERS, originated on a market in the city. Wild animals were traded illegally on this market.

On Wednesday, the World Health Organization (WHO) said after an urgent debate that it would take another day to decide whether the outbreak of the new virus is an international health crisis.

Such a crisis has only been declared five times before by the WHO, including for Ebola and the Zika virus. In such a case, countries have to work together to stop the spread, as was agreed in an international treaty from 2005. The procedure was designed after the SARS epidemic in 2002 and 2003, which killed nearly eight hundred people and infected thousands.

The WHO says it is investigating the situation in China together with local authorities and collecting all the necessary evidence. “Calling out an international health crisis is not something I take lightly,” says WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus. In the meantime, the WHO ensures that the necessary measures are taken.

Monday it was announced by China that the disease can also be transmitted from person to person. A few cases have also been reported in countries outside China, including four in Thailand and one in the United States, Taiwan, South Korea and Japan.

The virus can cause respiratory diseases, from a simple cold to serious lung infections.

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