BEIJING: The virus outbreak in Huanggang city is especially severe, the governor of Hubei province said on Wednesday (Jan 29), adding the city cannot be allowed to become the second Wuhan - the provincial capital and epicentre of the epidemic.
Wang Xiaodong said during a press briefing that companies in the province should not resume work before the end of Feb 13.
Huanggang, a city of 7.5 million people, is one of more than a dozen cities that have been under virtual lockdown as China seeks to curb the spread of the virus that has killed 132.
The city has reported five deaths and 324 cases as of end-Tuesday, the second-most in both accounts among the cities in the province behind Wuhan.
The virus that China announced in late December has now killed 132 people, infected at least 6,000 and spread to more than 15 countries.
More than 50 million people have been locked down in and around Wuhan, the central industrial city where the outbreak first began, in a bid by authorities to stop an infection that has since spread to other cities in China and to other countries.
Foreign governments have airlifted their citizens out of Wuhan, the epicentre of the outbreak, and airlines have suspended flights to and from China.
"The virus is a devil and we cannot let the devil hide," state television quoted Chinese President Xi Jinping said during a meeting with World Health Organization (WHO) chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus in Beijing on Tuesday.
"China will strengthen international cooperation and welcomes the WHO participation in virus prevention ... China is confident of winning the battle against the virus."
While some experts believe the new strain, known as "2019-nCoV", is not as deadly as SARS, alarm has grown over its rapid spread and many unknown attributes, such as how lethal it is.
Like other respiratory infections, it is spread by droplets from coughs and sneezes, with an incubation time between one and 14 days. There are signs it may spread before symptoms show.
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