China Death Toll Climbs to 132 as Cases Soar: Virus Update

The novel coronavirus spread further, with the number of confirmed cases in China soaring to overtake the official number of infections during the SARS epidemic.

Governments tightened international travel and border crossings with China as they ramped up efforts to stop the spread of the disease. Hong Kong announced it will close some border checkpoints and restrict transportation from the mainland. The U.S. and U.K. on Tuesday said residents should avoid all non-essential travel to China, and United Airlines Holdings Inc. said it would cut flight service after a drop in demand.

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Here are the latest developments. All times are in Hong Kong time:

Japan’s First Wuhan Evacuation Flight Arrives (8:20 a.m.):

Japan’s first charter flight carrying evacuees from Wuhan, the city at the epicenter of the outbreak, landed in Tokyo on Wednesday. The plane was carrying 206 people, according to the Japanese government.

The passengers will be subject to two weeks home quarantine, the government has said. Other countries, including the U.S. and Australia, also are working to evacuate their citizens in Wuhan.

China Virus Cases Surpass Those From SARS (8:09 a.m.):

The number of infected cases in mainland China soared to 5,974, the National Health Commission said Wednesday. That’s more than the 5,327 cases officially reported in the country during in the SARS epidemic 17 years ago.

The death toll climbed to 132, with most of the cases in Hubei, the epicenter of the outbreak. The province added 25 fatalities on Wednesday. Almost 60,000 patients are under observations, the NHC said, double the number from earlier in the week.

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