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Coronavirus Live Updates: Millions Across China Are Under Lockdown

Across China, officials have imposed controls of various kinds on people’s movements, hoping that minimizing contact will prevent the virus from circulating further.

To gauge the scale and breadth of these policies, The New York Times examined dozens of local government announcements and reports from state-run news outlets.

The Times’s analysis found that at least 150 million people in China — over 10 percent of the country’s population — are facing government restrictions about how often they can leave their homes.

They represent a subset of the more than 760 million people in China whose neighborhoods and villages have imposed strictures of some sort on residents’ comings and goings, as The Times reported over the weekend. That larger figure represents more than half of the country’s population, and roughly one in 10 people on the planet.

China’s lockdowns vary widely in their strictness. Neighborhoods in some places require residents only to show ID, sign in and have their temperature checked when they enter. Others prohibit residents from bringing guests.

But in places with more stringent policies, only one person from each household is allowed to leave their home at a time, and not necessarily every day. Many neighborhoods have issued the equivalent of paper hall passes to ensure that residents comply.

In one district in the city of Xi’an, the authorities have stipulated that residents may leave their homes only once every three days to shop for food and other essentials. They also specify that the shopping may not take longer than two hours.

Tens of millions of other people are living in places where local officials have “encouraged” but not ordered neighborhoods to restrict people’s ability to leave their homes, The Times found.

And with many neighborhoods and localities deciding their own policies on residents’ movements, it is possible that the total number of affected people is even higher still.

The director of a hospital in Wuhan, the Chinese city at the center of the epidemic, died on Tuesday after contracting the new coronavirus, the latest in a series of medical professionals to be killed in the outbreak.

  • Updated Feb. 10, 2020

    • What is a Coronavirus?
      It is a novel virus named for the crown-like spikes that protrude from its surface. The coronavirus can infect both animals and people, and can cause a range of respiratory illnesses from the common cold to more dangerous conditions like Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome, or SARS.
    • How contagious is the virus?
      According to preliminary research, it seems moderately infectious, similar to SARS, and is possibly transmitted through the air. Scientists have estimated that each infected person could spread it to somewhere between 1.5 and 3.5 people without effective containment measures.
    • How worried should I be?
      While the virus is a serious public health concern, the risk to most people outside China remains very low, and seasonal flu is a more immediate threat.
    • Who is working to contain the virus?
      World Health Organization officials have praised China’s aggressive response to the virus by closing transportation, schools and markets. This week, a team of experts from the W.H.O. arrived in Beijing to offer assistance.
    • What if I’m traveling?
      The United States and Australia are temporarily denying entry to noncitizens who recently traveled to China and several airlines have canceled flights.
    • How do I keep myself and others safe?
      Washing your hands frequently is the most important thing you can do, along with staying at home when you’re sick.

Liu Zhiming, 51, a neurosurgeon and the director of the Wuchang Hospital in Wuhan, died shortly before 11 a.m. on Tuesday, the Wuhan health commission said.

“From the start of the outbreak, Comrade Liu Zhiming, without regard to his personal safety, led the medical staff of Wuchang Hospital at the front lines of the fight against the epidemic,” the commission said. Dr. Liu “made significant contributions to our city’s fight to prevent and control the novel coronavirus,” it added.

Last week the Chinese government said that more than 1,700 medical workers had contracted the virus, and six had died.

Chinese medical workers at the forefront of the fight against the coronavirus epidemic are often becoming its victims, partly because of government missteps and logistical hurdles. After the virus emerged in Wuhan late last year, city leaders played down its risks, and doctors did not take the strongest precautions.

The death nearly two weeks ago of Li Wenliang, an ophthalmologist who was initially reprimanded for warning medical school classmates about the virus, stirred an outpouring of grief and anger. Dr. Li, 34, has emerged as a symbol of how the authorities controlled information and have moved to stifle online criticism and aggressive reporting on the outbreak.

HSBC plans to cut 35,000 jobs over the next three years as the global bank struggles to revive a business that has come to depend increasingly on China for growth.

The London-based bank said on Tuesday that it aimed to cut $4.5 billion in costs as it faces headwinds that include the coronavirus outbreak in China and months of political strife in Hong Kong, one of its most important bases.

The coronavirus is causing economic disruptions in Hong Kong and mainland China that could have a negative impact on performance this year, the bank warned. The bank lowered expectations for growth across Asia for this year but added that it expected to see some improvement once the virus was contained. Nearly half of the bank’s revenue comes from Asia.

HSBC shares trading in Hong Kong slumped by more than 3 percent.

It is the latest company to shed light on the impact of a fast-moving virus that has gripped China over recent weeks and led to a near-nationwide economic standstill. While parts of the country are getting back to work, the reopening of business operations for many companies has been slow.

An analysis of 44,672 coronavirus patients in China whose diagnoses were confirmed by laboratory testing has found that 1,023 had died by Feb. 11. That’s a fatality rate of 2.3 percent. Figures released on a daily basis suggest the rate has further increased in recent days.

That is far higher than the mortality rate of the seasonal flu, with which the new coronavirus has sometimes been compared. In the United States, flu fatality rates hover around 0.1 percent.

The new analysis was posted online by researchers at the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention.

Over all, about 81 percent of patients with confirmed diagnoses experienced mild illness, the researchers found. Nearly 14 percent had severe cases of COVID-19, the disease caused by the new coronavirus, and about 5 percent had critical illnesses.

Thirty percent of those who died were in their 60s, 30 percent were in their 70s and 20 percent were age 80 or older. Though men and women were roughly equally represented among the confirmed cases, men made up nearly 64 percent of the deaths. Patients with underlying medical conditions, such as cardiovascular disease or diabetes, died at higher rates.

The fatality rate among patients in Hubei Province, the center of China’s outbreak, was more than seven times higher than that of other provinces.

China on Tuesday announced new figures for the outbreak. The number of cases was put at 72,436 — up 1,888 from 70,548 the day before — and the death toll now stands at 1,868, up 98 from 1,770, the authorities said.

A day before 328 Americans were to be whisked away from a contaminated cruise ship in Japan, the U.S. Embassy in Tokyo told passengers that no one infected with the new coronavirus would be allowed to board charter flights to the United States.

But those plans were hastily changed after the test results for 14 passengers came back positive — just as they were being loaded onto buses and dispatched to the airport, where two reconfigured cargo jets were waiting to fly them to military bases in California and Texas.

After consultations with health experts, the U.S. government decided to let the infected evacuees, who were not yet exhibiting symptoms, board the flights.

The reversal was the latest chaotic turn in a two-week quarantine of the ship, the Diamond Princess, that has become an epidemiological nightmare.

Weeks after airlines cut flights to China over the coronavirus outbreak, airlines in Asia are cutting flights elsewhere.

Singapore Airlines on Tuesday said it would temporarily cut flights between the city-state and major destinations like New York, Paris, London, Tokyo, Seoul and Sydney. It cited weak demand as fears over the outbreak keep more travelers at home.

The announcement follows a similar notice two weeks ago by Cathay Pacific, the Hong Kong carrier. In announcing the cancellation of nearly all its flights to mainland China, it also said it would reduce service elsewhere over the next two months depending on how the market fares. Over all, it said, the cuts represent nearly one-third of the airline’s capacity.

Containment efforts have sidelined Chinese tourists, a powerful economic force responsible for $277 billion in spending a year, according to the U.N. World Tourism Organization. But the spreading coronavirus has unnerved tourists from elsewhere, especially when it comes to flying back and forth from Asia. As of Tuesday, Japan had reported 66 cases, not counting 454 aboard the Diamond Princess cruise ship off Yokohama. Singapore reported 66 cases, Hong Kong had 60 cases and South Korea reported 31 cases.

President Moon Jae-in of South Korea warned on Tuesday that the outbreak of the coronavirus in China, his country’s biggest trading partner, is creating an “emergency economic situation,” and ordered his government to take actions to limit the fallout.

“The current situation is much worse than we had thought,” Mr. Moon said during a Cabinet meeting on Tuesday. “If the Chinese economic situation aggravates, we will be one of the hardest-hit countries.”

Mr. Moon cited difficulties for South Korean companies in getting components from China, as well as sharp drops in exports to China, the destination for about a quarter of all South Korean exports. He also said travel restrictions hurt the South Korean tourism industry, which relies heavily on Chinese visitors.

“The government needs to take all special measures it can,” Mr. Moon said, ordering the allocation of financial aid and tax breaks to help shore up businesses hurt the most by the virus scare.

Also on Tuesday, a South Korean Air Force plane flew to Japan to evacuate four South Korean citizens stranded on the Diamond Princess, the quarantined cruise ship in Yokohama.

When Cambodia’s prime minister greeted passengers on a cruise ship amid a coronavirus scare on Valentine’s Day, embraces were the order of the day. Protective masks were not.

Not only did Prime Minister Hun Sen not wear one, assured that the ship was virus-free, his bodyguards ordered people who had donned masks to take them off. The next day, the American ambassador to Cambodia, W. Patrick Murphy, who brought his own family to greet the passengers streaming off the ship, also went without a mask.

“We are very, very grateful that Cambodia has opened literally its ports and doors to people in need,” Mr. Murphy said. Five other ports had said no.

But after hundreds of passengers had disembarked, one later tested positive for the coronavirus.

Now, health officials worry that what Cambodia opened its doors to was the outbreak, and that the world may pay a price as passengers from the cruse ship Westerdam stream home.

Officials are testing those passengers still on the ship, but health authorities may be hard put to trace all those who have headed back to their homes.

Apple said on Monday that it was cutting its sales forecast because of the coronavirus, in a sign of how the outbreak is taking a toll on manufacturing, even at one of the world’s most valuable companies.

The announcement came hours before China announced new figures for the outbreak.

In a statement, the iPhone maker, which is heavily dependent on factories in China, said its supply of smartphones would be hurt because production was slowed by the outbreak.

None of the factories that make iPhones are in Hubei Province, the center of the outbreak, but travel restrictions have hindered other parts of the country as well. Production was taking longer than hoped to get back on track after the facilities reopened following the Lunar New Year holiday, the company said.

Apple said it was also cutting its sales forecast because demand for its products was being hurt in China. China has been one of the Silicon Valley company’s fastest-growing and largest markets.

Apple’s warning is significant because it is a bellwether of global demand and supply of products. The company said it was “fundamentally strong, and this disruption to our business is only temporary.”

Reporting and research were contributed by Austin Ramzy, Alexandra Stevenson, Hannah Beech, Choe Sang-Hun, Raymond Zhong, Lin Qiqing, Wang Yiwei, Roni Caryn Rabin, Richard C. Paddock, Motoko Rich and Daisuke Wakabayashi.

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