NYDN: Wuhan grinds to halt as officials battle coronavirus

World News

The Lunar New Year is all but canceled in the sprawling central Chinese metropolis of Wuhan, the epicenter of a virus outbreak that has left at least 17 dead, sickened hundreds and pushed authorities to freeze public transportation.

Wuhan, home to more people than New York, banned large Chinese New Year parties Thursday, according to The Washington Post, the latest step in the locked-down city’s efforts to stem the spread of the coronavirus.

Images and videos from the city showed hospitals packed with patients. News anchors wore masks strapped to their faces on TV.

Medical workers of the Union Hospital with the Tongji Medical College of Huazhong University in Wuhan participate in a ceremony to form an “assault team” to battle against a coronavirus epidemic.

The respiratory virus first emerged in December, but the death toll from the illness exploded in recent days. Two nearby cities, Huanggang and Ezhou, also announced lockdowns beginning Friday.

Locals reportedly stocked up on supplies at grocery stores as quarantines approached. The situation has drawn comparisons to the spread of SARS, a coronavirus that originated in China and killed roughly 800 people in the early 2000s.

The coronavirus reached the U.S. this week when a man who had traveled to China was diagnosed in the state of Washington, although he was in good condition, according to health officials.

The World Health Organization on Thursday resisted declaring a global health emergency, a rarely invoked measure that would spark an international crisis response.

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But a startling scene had settled on Wuhan. Public officials there said they had entered a “state of war,” according to an NPR translation.