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Coronavirus death toll rises as Wuhan stays in lockdown

Published: (Updated: ) in Australian News by .

The death toll from the coronavirus has spiked, with China confirming another 25 fatalities today.

The death toll from the coronavirus has spiked, with China confirming another 25 fatalities today.

So far 131 people have died from the disease, all in China, and all but six in Hubei province.

The government also confirmed 840 more cases in the province, which includes the major city of Wuhan.

Students and parents wear face masks as they walk to school in Hurstville, in Sydney's south.

Outside China, more than 70 people have the deadly virus, including at least five in Australia.

There are now cases in Thailand, Japan, the US, Singapore, Taiwan, Malaysia, South Korea, France, Germany, Vietnam, Nepal, Cambodia, Canada and Sri Lanka.

More confirmed cases are likely to emerge in Australia over the coming days.

Today China agreed to allow medical specialists from the World Health Organisation to help contain the outbreak.

Hong Kong is now restricting travel for those coming from mainland China.

Hong Kong CEO Carrie Lam holds a press conference while wearing a face-mask.

High-speed trains and ferries from the mainland into the island city have been suspended, leader Carrie Lam announced at a press conference. She wore a face mask as she made the announcement.

Chinese cuisine blamed

The city of Wuhan is in lockdown, with its 11 million residents unable to leave.

And fingers are being pointed at Chinese eating habits for the epidemic, with one video of a woman eating bat soup going viral.

Hundreds of construction workers and heavy machinery build new hospitals to tackle the coronavirus on January 28, 2020 in Wuhan.

That video was not filmed in China, but on the Pacific island nation of Palau, where there are no known cases of coronavirus.

The outbreak was initially linked to a market in Wuhan where exotic animals are known to be sold as food.

But that theory has been thrown into question, as it was revealed many of the first to contract the virus had no contact with the market.

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A man wears a mask while riding on mobike past the closed Huanan Seafood Wholesale Market, which has been linked to cases of coronavirus.

Australian breakthrough

Australian scientists have replicated the deadly coronavirus in laboratory conditions in a medical breakthrough that could give health experts crucial information to combat the virus.

Researchers at Melbourne's Peter Doherty Institute for Infection and Immunity have become the first to recreate the virus outside of China.

The lab-grown virus - which was developed from an infected patient - will be shared with the World Health Organisation before being given to labs across the globe.

The Royal Melbourne Hospital's Dr Julian Druce, Virus Identification Laboratory Head at the Doherty Institute, said this was a significant breakthrough.

"Chinese officials released the genome sequence of this novel coronavirus, which is helpful for diagnosis, however, having the real virus means we now have the ability to actually validate and verify all test methods, and compare their sensitivities and specificities - it will be a game changer for diagnosis," Dr Druce said.

How coronavirus affects the human body.

"The virus will be used as positive control material for the Australian network of public health laboratories, and also shipped to expert laboratories working closely with the World Health Organisation (WHO) in Europe."

Researchers across the world are trying to develop a vaccine to stop people dying from the coronavirus.

Source: 9News

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