(Reuters) - A coronavirus epidemic has killed 259 people, all in China, according to the country’s National Health Commission on Saturday. The disease had infected 11,781 people in China as of Friday, the commission added. Additionally, 137 cases have been reported in other countries and regions.
Here are the latest developments:
** Infections have been reported in Australia, Britain, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Japan, Russia, Spain, Thailand, the United States and 14 other countries and regions outside mainland China. No deaths have been reported outside China.
** The Chinese data would suggest it is less deadly than the 2002-03 outbreak of Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS), which killed nearly 800 people of the some 8,000 it infected, although such numbers can evolve rapidly.
** The World Health Organization has declared the outbreak a public health emergency of international concern.
** The United States has reported its first case of person-to-person transmission inside its territory. Germany, Japan, Thailand, Vietnam and South Korea have recorded similar infections, suggesting greater potential for spread.
** China’s central city of Wuhan and the surrounding province of Hubei - the center of the epidemic - are under a virtual quarantine.
** Infections have jumped in two cities flanking Wuhan, health authorities said, raising concerns that new hot spots are emerging despite strict travel restrictions.
** The United States, Australia and Singapore have denied entry to foreign nationals who have recently been in China.
** Apple Inc said on Saturday it would close all its stores and offices in China until Feb. 9. Sweden’s IKEA, Walmart Inc and other companies have restricted travel and operations.
** Global airlines have suspended or scaled back direct flights to China’s major cities.
** Countries including Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, Singapore, South Korea and the United States are working to evacuate citizens from Wuhan or have already started doing so.
** China’s central bank has said the economic impact will be temporary, but it will increase monetary and credit support.
** China’s two entertainment industry associations have asked studios and actors to halt filming activity.
** Several high-profile sporting events have been moved or postponed in China, the latest a badminton Olympic qualifier in Hainan province.
** Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam rejected calls on Friday from a medical union to close the border with mainland China.
Compiled by Stephen Coates; Editing by Timothy Heritage, Diane Craft and Andrew Heavens