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China coronavirus death toll surges: All the latest updates



Officers wearing protective suits are seen in Batik Airplane before take-off to pickup Indonesian citizens at Wuhan, in Soekarno-Hatta International Airport
Residents of virus-hit Hubei province flown back home, as other countries evacuate their citizens from China.

The death toll from China's coronavirus outbreak has surpassed 250, the government said on Saturday, as foreign nations tightened restrictions on travellers from China in response to the rapid spread of the illness.

At least 259 people have died and 11,791 people have been infected in China by the new coronavirus, according to new figures from China's health officials.

Most of the latest fatalities are from Hubei province. The city of Wuhan, the epicentre of the outbreak is located in Hubei. 

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Another 17,888 people are suspected of being infected, while 243 have been discharged, according to a separate report by China's state-owned international channel, CGTN.

On Friday, it was reported that there were over 102,000 people under medical observation.

Fresh cases have been detected abroad, with more than 20 countries now affected, including Spain and the UK.

The top Communist Party official in Wuhan, the central city of 11 million people where the virus first emerged in December, on Friday expressed "remorse" because local authorities acted too slowly.

Here are the latest updates:

Saturday, February 1
Apple to temporarily close all China stores
Apple Inc said it has decided to shut down all of its official stores in mainland China until February 9, due to "recent public health and prevention considerations". 

Apple did not immediately respond to further request for comment.

'Children at risk' amid coronavirus outbreak  
Children are particularly vulnerable to the coronavirus outbreak, international aid group Save the Children said, as it expressed concern over its spread in countries with weak healthcare systems.  

"While the Chinese government is taking effective measures to respond to this outbreak inside China, Save the Children is concerned about a potential outbreak in other parts of Asia where the healthcare systems won't be able to adequately screen for the virus or treat patients who have contracted it," Hassan Saadi Noor, the charity's Asia Regional Director, said in a statement. 

Thailand to evacuate nationals from China
The evacuation of Thai nationals from the epicenter of the coronavirus outbreak in China could take place "in a matter of days", Thailand's government said. 

Three officials from the Thai embassy in Beijing are expected to reach Wuhan on Sunday to help with the evacuation, government spokeswoman Narumon Pinyosinwat said.

"We have an increase from 161 to now 182 Thais in the area who have registered with us and we are verifying their documents," she told Reuters news agency. "The evacuation will be in a matter of days, likely after February 2."

Indonesia to quarantine evacuees in military base
Indonesian officials said that around 250 of its nationals being evacuated from China's Hubei province, the centre of the coronavirus epidemic, will be quarantined in its Natuna Islands military base.

Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi said all the evacuees, along with five officials arranging their return on the Batik Air flight, were healthy and that further medical checks would be conducted on board the plane and at their arrival in Indonesia.


China has flown two planeloads of its citizens back home to the locked-down province of Hubei, where they were greeted by authorities in full-body protective suits.

A Xiamen Airlines charter flight from Thailand's capital, Bangkok, touched down in the provincial capital Wuhan. 

A second Xiamen flight landed soon afterwards carrying Hubei residents from Kota Kinabalu, a popular coastal tourist destination in Malaysia.

Passengers wearing face masks are seen on a Xiamen Airlines airplane before getting off the charter flight sent by the Chinese government to bring home Hubei residents from Thailand's Bangkok, at Wuha
Passengers wearing face masks are seen on a Xiamen Airlines airplane before getting off the charter flight sent by the Chinese government to bring home Hubei residents from Thailand's Bangkok [Reuters]
Australia bars entry to non-citizens coming from China
The Australian government said it would bar non-citizens arriving from China from entering the country under new measures to combat the spread of the coronavirus epidemic.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison said only "Australian citizens, Australian residents, dependents, legal guardians or spouses" would be permitted into the country from China from Saturday.

"The arrangements are being put in place through our border authorities to ensure that that can be actioned," he added. "Those that do return will be required to go into self isolation for 14 days."

Turkey evacuates citizens from Wuhan
A cargo plane with 42 passengers left for Turkey after evacuating Turkish citizens from the Chinese city of Wuhan, state-run Anadolu news agency reported. 

The evacuees were screened by Turkish health experts using a team of six experts assigned to run blood tests and scan the health conditions to eliminate the potential risk in Turkey.

UK withdraws some staff from China embassy
Britain is withdrawing some staff from its embassy and consulates in China due to the coronavirus, the UK government said in a statement. 

"Essential staff needed to continue critical work will remain," it said.

"In the event that the situation deteriorates further, the ability of the British Embassy and Consulates to provide assistance to British nationals from within China may be limited."



China criticises latest US response to coronavirus outbreak
Beijing criticised Washington's order barring entry to most foreigners who visited China in the past two weeks, and "unfriendly comments" that its government is failing to cooperate in the crisis.

The Chinese government said the decision contradicted the WHO’s appeal to avoid travel bans. 

US imposes travel restrictions as coronavirus cases rise
The United States took drastic steps that will temporarily bar foreign nationals who have traveled in China within the last 14 days. 

Americans returning from China will be allowed into the country, but will face screening at select ports of entry and required to undertake 14 days of self-screening to ensure they do not pose a health risk.

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