The coronavirus outbreak has accelerated its spread in China with 56 deaths so far – and the country’s health minister says “the ability of the virus to spread is getting stronger” and the illness is infectious for longer than first thought.
Chinese President Xi Jinping called the outbreak a grave situation, and the government stepped up efforts to restrict travel and public gatherings while rushing medical staff and supplies to Wuhan, the epicentre of the outbreak, which remains on lockdown.
Health minister Ma Xiaowei declined to estimate how long it would take to bring the situation under control, but said travel restrictions and other strict measures should bring results “at the lowest cost and fastest speed”.
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