Coronavirus: door-to-door inspections under way as hospital director dies in Wuhan

Chinese authorities have announced stringent new measures to contain disease in city of origin

epa08225796 Police and medical workers stop vehicles on the highway road blockade for a health check in Guangzhou, China, 18 February 2020. The disease caused by the novel coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2) has been officially named Covid-19 by the World Health Organisation (WHO). The outbreak, which originated in the Chinese city of Wuhan, has so far killed at least 1,874 people and infected over 73,000 others worldwide, mostly in China.  EPA/ALEX PLAVEVSKI
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Authorities have imposed strict restrictions on movement in China's Hubei province as the number of new coronavirus cases rose for the first time in several days.

A door-to-door sweep has been launched in Wuhan, the Chinese city at the centre of the outbreak, to round up patients infected with the virus.

Chinese state media reported the launch of the three-day operation, which will also place anyone who has had close contact with patients under quarantine and put communities and villages under 24-hour closed-off management.

On Tuesday, China reported 1,886 new cases and 98 more deaths, raising the total number of deaths in mainland China to 1,868.

Wuhan’s health bureau announced the death of hospital director Liu Zhiming on Tuesday “after all-out efforts to save him failed,” the commission said.

Dr Liu, 51, had dedicated his hospital’s resources to assisting thousands of sick people arriving daily before contracting the deadly virus.

The fast-spreading disease has taken a heavy toll on healthcare workers with more than 1,700 frontline medics infected in China.

News also emerged that Xu Depu, the former director of the Ezhou city hospital in Hubei province, died from the virus last week.

UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres said the outbreak in China posed “a very dangerous situation” for the world but “is not out of control", AP reported.

Mr Guterres said his greatest worry was a spread of the virus to areas with “less capacity in their health service", particularly some African countries.

Egypt recently reported its first case of coronavirus, increasing fears that it could spread across the African continent.

Worldwide, more than 73,000 people have been infected by the outbreak with new cases identified in Japan, Singapore and South Korea. The UAE confirmed the country's ninth case this week.

Japan is preparing to start trials of HIV medication to treat coronavirus patients, a government spokesman said on Tuesday.

Another 88 people have tested positive for the disease on the Diamond Princess cruise ship, which is quarantined off the Japanese port of Yokohama.

Doctors in Thailand have reported some success in treating the virus with a combination of flu and HIV medication.

More passengers flew home from the MS Westerdam cruise ship on Tuesday after two weeks stranded at sea.

The ship docked in Cambodia last week after being turned away from five ports, despite saying there was no case of coronavirus on board.

Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen said more than 300 of the passengers were set to fly out of the country yesterday.

An American woman who had been a passenger on the ship tested positive for the virus on the weekend, prompting renewed scrutiny for those still on board.