Chinese authorities on Thursday decided to impose travel restrictions on three cities where some 18 million people live, in an unprecedented effort to contain the new coronavirus that has already spread to other parts of the world.
The National Health Commission also reported that the number of patients suffering from coronavirus had increased to 830. The number of deaths also increased, from 17 to 25.
Friday morning (local time), she also confirmed that a first death had been recorded outside of Hubei province. A man from eastern Hebei province said an 80-year-old man died after showing symptoms of coronavirus. The man was returning from a two-month stay in Wuhan where he had been visited by relatives.
Wuhan train station and airport, the epicentre of the epidemic, were closed and ferry, metro and bus services were interrupted. The usually busy streets and public places of this city of 11 million people were strangely calm on Thursday. Police checked all vehicles entering the city, but did not close the roads.
Authorities have announced that similar measures will come into effect on Friday in neighbouring towns of Huanggang and Ezhou. In Huanggang, theatres, internet cafes and other entertainment venues have also been closed.