Coronavirus: Death toll passes 250 as travel bans declared

259 people are now known to have died from the coronavirus in China. Almost 12,000 people are als...

11.40 1 Feb 2020

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Coronavirus: Death toll passes...

Coronavirus: Death toll passes 250 as travel bans declared


11.40 1 Feb 2020

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259 people are now known to have died from the coronavirus in China.

Almost 12,000 people are also reported to be infected with the virus as authorities around the world work to prevent a global pandemic.

Three Irish people also remain quarantined in a British hospital, after being evacuated from Wuhan which is the epicentre of the outbreak.


83 Britons have been brought back from China and are being quarantined at the facility on the Wirral, where they will stay for two weeks.

It comes as the US declared a public health emergency late last night and announced significant entry restrictions, temporarily barring foreign nationals - other than immediate family of American citizens and permanent residents - who have travelled to China within the last 14 days.

Australia has also imposed a similar travel ban for anyone who travelled through mainland China from today.

coronavirus china Deliverymen pose for a group photo on the empty street in Wuhan, central China's Hubei Province. Photo: Xinhua/Cai Yang)

Greg McDonough, originally from Kerry, is with his wife and child in a province close to where the outbreak began.

Speaking on Newstalk Breakfast, he said officials have brought in a strict travel ban to try and stop the spread of the virus.

He said: "The roads out are closed, there's no buses, no taxis.

"It's not officially locked down but basically you can't leave.

"You can leave the house, you can walk out around the town; we were just out this morning with our son for a bit of exercise and there wasn't a soul to be seen anywhere, everybody is staying indoors.

He said: "We go out maybe once a day and it's quite safe because everybody is staying indoors by choice."

Here, the Department of Health's National Public Health Emergency Team (NPHET) is to continue monitoring the coronavirus outbreak.

No cases have been confirmed in Ireland to date.

Global health emergency

The World Health Organisation declared the outbreak a global health emergency on Thursday and said the spread of the virus outside China was a key factor behind its decision.

Its director-general, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, said: "This is the time for facts, not fear. This is time for science, not rumours. This is the time for solidarity, not stigma."

There is no vaccine for the new viral infection, which can cause pneumonia and can be passed from person to person.

The symptoms include fever, coughing and difficulty breathing.

Though the origin of the virus has yet to be identified, the WHO has said the primary source is probably an animal.

The virus originated in the Chinese central city of Wuhan at the end of last year and has since spread to every province across mainland China.

More than 130 cases have been reported in at least 25 other countries, including the US, Taiwan, South Korea, Russia, Japan, Thailand, France, Australia, Germany, Singapore and the United Arab Emirates.

Airports around the world have stepped up screening of travellers arriving from affected regions.

Apple has also shut all its official stores on China's mainland due to the coronavirus outbreak.

The tech giant says it's a temporary move until February 9th.

Its online store in China will stay open, according to the company's statement.

Additional reporting by IRN

Main image: Staff members disinfect the cabin of an airplane after its arrival at the Haikou Meilan International Airport in Haikou, south China's Hainan Province. Photo by Pu Xiaoxu/Xinhua

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