KUALA LUMPUR • Major cities and capitals worldwide have announced new travel restrictions as concern continued to rise over the spread of the coronavirus which originated in China.
Malaysia yesterday expanded its ban on visitors from Hubei province to include Zhejiang and Jiangsu provinces, after China extended its lockdown to five cities in Zhejiang and two in Jiangsu.
As of yesterday, there were 17 confirmed cases of the coronavirus in Malaysia, 12 of them Chinese nationals. The latest case is a 65-year-old woman, the mother-in-law of a 41-year-old Malaysian man who contracted the virus after attending a company meeting in Singapore last month.
At least five people who attended that meeting, including the Malaysian man, have contracted the virus, sparking a World Health Organisation investigation of the case.
A Briton who attended the meeting tested positive last week after returning to Britain, becoming the third case there. He is believed to have stayed in France for a few days on his way home.
Yesterday, British health officials said a fourth case had been diagnosed, after a patient contracted the illness from a previously confirmed British case while in France.
"The new case is a known contact of a previously confirmed UK case and the virus was passed on in France," Mr Chris Whitty, chief medical officer for England, said in a statement.
France issued a new travel advisory for its citizens, saying it did not recommend travelling to China unless there was an "imperative" reason. the French authorities said they were tracing all the people who might have been in close contact with a group of 11 Britons exposed to the virus after sharing lodgings in the Alpine ski resort of Les Contamines-Montjoie. The French cases have been linked back to the British man who attended the meeting in Singapore.
In a further possible link to that man, the Spanish authorities said yesterday a British man had tested positive for the coronavirus in Mallorca. He was one of four members of a British family taken into observation on Friday after coming into contact with someone in France who was subsequently diagnosed with the virus, they said.
Italy has asked children travelling from China to stay away from school for two weeks voluntarily.
Meanwhile, Chinese-ruled Hong Kong introduced a two-week quarantine on Saturday for all people arriving from the mainland, or who have been there during the previous 14 days.
The virus has killed more than 800 people and infected over 37,000, most of them in China. It has spread to at least 27 countries and regions, infecting more than 330 people. Two deaths have been reported outside mainland China - both of them Chinese nationals.
REUTERS, AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE