China shuts down public transport, temples, part of Great Wall to battle coronavirus

China shuts down public transport, temples, part of Great Wall to battle coronavirus
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China has increased measures to contain the new coronavirus that has infected hundreds and killed over two dozen people, suspending public transport and shutting down several temples and major destinations over the Lunar New Year.

The weeklong holiday began on Friday, but authorities expressed concern that the rates of infection could increase as hundreds of millions of people travel to celebrate, Reuters reported. The infections, which have killed 26 and infected 830, caused officials to close the Forbidden City, Beijing’s Lama Temple and even part of the Great Wall. 

Most of the cases of the virus have been within China, although infections have been detected in Thailand, Vietnam, Singapore, Japan, South Korea and Taiwan in addition to the United States. The World Health Organization this week called the coronavirus an emergency for China, but it stopped short of labeling it a global emergency.

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In the Chinese city of Wuhan, where the outbreak initially began last month, hospitals were inundated with patients looking to be checked for the infection, Reuters reported. Pharmacies also began to run low on supplies.

Some initial research has indicated that the illness was contracted by humans from snakes, according to the outlet. The virus is believed to have originated in a market that illegally traded animals.

The virus can spread through respiratory transmission. But researchers still have questions about the infection, such as how easily it spreads. Some symptoms include fever, difficulty breathing and coughing.

In Wuhan and the neighboring Huanggang, several rail stations were also shut down, with few trains stopping in the cities. Flights were also suspended and travelers driving in or out on main roads were stopped at checkpoints, Reuters reported.

“There’s so much news, so much data, every 10 minutes there’s an update, it’s frightening, especially for people like us in a severely hit area,” said Lily Jin, 30, a resident of the city, told Reuters. “Even if you’re not ill you’ll frighten yourself into getting sick.”

The Shanghai Disneyland theme park will also be closed from Saturday until further notice.