China expands lockdowns to 25M people to halt viral outbreak

Travelers wear face masks as they stand in the arrivals area at Beijing Capital International Airport in Beijing, Thursday, Jan. 23, 2020. China closed off a city of more than 11 million people Thursday, halting transportation and warning against public gatherings, to try to stop the spread of a deadly new virus that has sickened hundreds and spread to other cities and countries in the Lunar New Year travel rush. (AP Photo/Mark Schiefelbein)

BEIJING (AP) — China broadened its unprecedented, open-ended lockdowns to encompass around 25 million people to try to contain a deadly new virus.

Experts admit, however, that the measures’ potential for success is uncertain. At least eight cities have been shut down, all of them in central China’s Hubei province, where the illness has been concentrated.

Normally bustling streets were eerily quiet. Masks were common. Major public events were canceled, including traditional temple fairs popular during the Lunar New Year.

The number of cases has risen to 830 in China, with 25 deaths.

The first death was confirmed outside Hubei, but the vast majority of cases around China and abroad still have ties to Wuhan, the Hubei provincial capital where the illnesses began last month.

Categories: Coronavirus