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Wuhan imposes travel restrictions as China's virus infections surpass 500

Wuhan imposes travel restrictions as China's virus infections surpass 500

Beijing - Tough restrictions on movement in the Chinese city of Wuhan came into force on Thursday, as authorities attempted to stem the spread of a new virus that has affected more than 500 people across the country.

The number of patients suffering from a lung disease caused by the new form of coronavirus climbed to 571, including 17 deaths, as of Thursday, Chinese officials said.

Wuhan's airport and train stations were shut down and long-distance bus, metro and ferry services out of the city of 11 million people were suspended as of 10 am (0200 GMT), state broadcaster CCTV reported.

There are fears that the number of infected people could spiral in the days ahead, when millions are expected to travel from major cities like Wuhan to family homesteads for the Lunar New Year celebration that starts Saturday.

Wuhan authorities this week installed infrared thermometers at airports, railway and bus stations and said public transport vehicles were being disinfected daily.

In Australia on Thursday, biosecurity teams checked passengers and crew arriving in Sydney on a flight from Wuhan for coronavirus, government officials said.

The China Eastern Airlines flight was the first to arrive in Sydney since the outbreak of the virus in Wuhan, and the last direct flight from the city to arrive before the airport in the Chinese city shut down.

Cases of the disease have been reported in Japan, the Philippines, South Korea, Taiwan, Thailand and the United States, as well as in the Chinese territories of Hong Kong and Macau.

dpa