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President Xi warns virus is 'accelerating', country facing 'grave situation': state media

BEIJING: Chinese President Xi Jinping warned China was facing a "grave situation" given the "accelerating spread" of a new SARS-like virus that has infected nearly 1,300 people across the country, state media reported Saturday.

"Faced with the grave situation of an accelerating spread of the new coronavirus... it is necessary to strengthen the centralised and unified leadership of the Party Central Committee," Xi said, according to official news agency Xinhua.

Xi said China can 'win the battle' against the virus epidemic. The mysterious SARS-like virus has killed at least 41 people and infected almost 1,300 since its discovery in the city of Wuhan.
While China and WHO are in health emergency, doing all to contain the deadly killer virus, the world body have said it will not declare it a global one. Travel restrictions have already hit several affected cities.

From Sunday, private vehicles will be banned from the central districts of Wuhan, the source of the outbreak and a second emergency hospital is to be built there within weeks to handle 1,300 new patients, and will be finished in half a month, state newspaper the People's Daily said.

It is the second such rapid construction project: work on another 1,000-bed hospital has already begun.

Chines specialist military medical teams have also been flown into Hubei province, where Wuhan is located. The urgency reflects concern both within China and elsewhere about the spread of the virus which first appeared in December.

The Chinese authorities have also been praised for the unprecedented and quick responses deployed in combating the killer virus.

Chines Lunar New Year celebrations for the year of the rat, which began on Saturday, have been cancelled as  travelers across mainland China are having their temperatures checked for signs of fever, and train stations have been shut in several cities. Also in Hong Kong, the highest level of emergency has been declared and school holidays extended.

The China's coronavirus is believed to be a family of viruses which include the common cold. But this virus has never been seen before, so it's been called 2019-nCov, for "novel coronavirus".

Th symptoms seem to start with a fever, followed by a dry cough and then, after a week, lead to shortness of breath and some patients needing hospital treatment.

There is no specific cure or vaccine.

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