An estimated 56million people are on lockdown in China to stop the coronavirus spreading, according to reports.
Public transport has also been closed across 18 cities in the country.
The death toll from China’s coronavirus outbreak increased on Saturday to 41 from 26 a day earlier as the Lunar New Year got off to a gloomy start as travelling and public gatherings have been cancelled.
Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam has announced all official visits to China have been cancelled as part of emergency measures.
More than 1,300 people have been infected globally with a virus traced to a seafood market in the central city of Wuhan that was illegally selling wildlife.
Medical supplies are very tight in Wuhan and an official is appealing for more medical supplies, such as masks and protective suits, from both domestic and overseas providers.
Health authorities around the world are scrambling to prevent a pandemic.
In the UK health officials have teamed up with Border Force agents and airlines to try to track down around 2,000 people who have recently flown in from China.
The Department of Health (DoH) confirmed it was trying to find “as many passengers as we can” who came to Britain from Wuhan, in the past two weeks to check on their wellbeing.
It is understood Border Force officers have been recruited to help speed up the search for passengers as testing for the virus continues in the UK.
England’s Chief Medical Officer Professor Chris Whitty said 14 people were given the all-clear on Thursday but more were being checked over.
He added there was a “fair chance” cases will emerge in Britain.
State-run China Global Television Network reported in a tweet on Saturday that a doctor who had been treating patients
in Wuhan, 62-year-old Liang Wudong, had died from the virus.
It was not immediately clear if his death was already counted in the official toll of 41, of which 39 were in the central province of Hubei, where Wuhan is located.
U.S. coffee chain Starbucks said on Saturday that it was closing all its outlets in Hubei province for the week-long
Lunar New Year holiday, following a similar move by McDonald’s in five Hubei cities.
Wuhan, a city with a population of 11 million, has been in virtual lockdown since Thursday, with nearly all flights at the airport cancelled and checkpoints blocking the main roads leading out of town.
Authorities have since imposed transport restrictions on nearly all of Hubei province, which has a population of 59 million.
In Beijing on Saturday, workers in white protective suits checked temperatures of passengers entering the subway at the
central railway station, while some train services in eastern China’s Yangtze River Delta region were suspended, the local
railway operator said.
The number of confirmed cases in China stands at 1,287, the National Health Commission said on Saturday.
The virus has also been detected in Thailand, Vietnam, Singapore, Japan, South Korea, Taiwan, Nepal, Malaysia, France,
the United States and Australia.
Japan has confirmed a third case – a woman in her 30s who lives in Wuhan and arrived in the country on January 18.
Australia on Saturday announced its first case of coronavirus, a Chinese national in his 50s, who had been in
Wuhan and arrived from China on Jan. 19 on a flight from Guangzhou.
He is in stable condition in a Melbourne hospital.
“Given the number of cases that have been found outside of China and the significant traffic from Wuhan city in the past to
Australia, it was not unexpected that we would get some cases,” Australia’s Chief Medical Officer Brendan Murphy told a news conference.
“This is the first confirmed case. There are other cases being tested each day, many of them are negative, but I wouldn’t be surprised if we had further confirmed cases.”
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said on Friday it had 63 patients under investigation, with two confirmed cases, both in people who had travelled to Wuhan.
Nepal has confirmed its first case of coronavirus, CNN reports.