Coronavirus spreads Europe, Australia
Published : Saturday, 25 January, 2020 at 8:26 PM Count : 725
All the reported deaths from Coronavirus have been in mainland China, but travelers have spread the virus to numerous other places. Cases have been confirmed in Australia, Malaysia, Nepal, Vietnam, Singapore, Japan, South Korea, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Thailand, France and the United States.
The authorities in Wuhan said they would also speed up the customs process for donated supplies, as hospitals in the city raise the alarm about a shortage of hospital gowns, surgical masks and other necessities, the New York Times reports.
A notice posted Saturday on the website of the city’s customs agency said that new channels were being put in place to ensure that donations were put to immediate use. Overseas donations will be exempted from tax duties, the notice said.
The Beijing city government announced on Saturday that it would suspend all inter-province buses from Sunday, effectively limiting road travel into the country’s capital.
It also said it would suspend all overseas tours and hotel and flight packages in the city from Monday.
The measures, taken hundreds of miles from Wuhan, were a sign that concerns over the spread of the outbreak have crept close to central government offices and the ruling Communist Party’s seat of power.
Wuhan also tightened its restrictions further on Saturday with a ban on vehicle traffic in the city center, to begin at midnight.
The local government said some vehicles would be exempted, including shuttle buses and trucks moving supplies. Residents responded with frustration on social media. One woman, who said she was pregnant and near her due date, asked if she was supposed to walk to her gynecologist’s office.
During past crises, the authorities in China have been criticized for their reluctance to accept overseas assistance, apparently preferring to project a sense of control. As China has grown more affluent, it has become a provider of aid rather than a recipient, particularly to regions like Africa.
China has made exceptions during some past disasters, including a devastating earthquake centered on Sichuan Province in 2008.