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China shuts down more cities as coronavirus death toll nears 500

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China shuts down more cities as coronavirus death toll nears 500

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Millions more people have been ordered to stay indoors as China battles to curb the spread of a new coronavirus that authorities said on Wednesday has already killed nearly 500 people.

With more than 24,000 cases in China, a growing number of cities have been imposing a range of restrictions in recent days far from central Hubei province, the epicentre of the outbreak, as authorities struggle to contain the virus. Global concerns have risen as more countries found cases that were not imported from China and 10 people tested positive for the virus on a ship — carrying 3,711 people — quarantined off the coast of Japan.

Some 56 million people in Hubei have been under virtual lockdown since last week. In Hangzhou green fences blocked streets near the headquarters of Chinese tech giant Alibaba as a fighter jet circled overhead. At least three other cities in eastern Zhejiang province — Taizhou, Wenzhou and parts of Ningbo — have imposed the same measures, affecting some 18 million people.

Similar policies were encouraged by authorities in two cities as far as China’s northeasternmost province, Heilongjiang, and a handful of others along the east coast. In Henan province, a district in the city of Zhumadian decided that only one person could leave each household every five days. Residents there have been offered cash rewards for informing on people from Hubei.

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