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Coronavirus death toll soars to 492 worldwide as China expands quarantine zones

Coronavirus death toll soars to 492 worldwide as China expands quarantine zones
As Beijing steps up measures to contain a lethal coronavirus outbreak sweeping Asia and beyond, the contagion has claimed 65 more lives in China’s Hubei province – the viral epicenter – bringing the total death toll to 492.

With an extensive containment zone expanded to four more Chinese cities on Tuesday – encompassing an additional 21 million people – the disease toll continues to climb, seeing over 3,100 more cases confirmed. The novel coronavirus has infected just shy of 24,000 people globally since the outbreak took hold in December in the Chinese city of Wuhan.

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While no vaccine or reliable treatment currently exists for the virus, health agencies have seen minor successes with a mixture of HIV and other antiviral medicines, including a new drug provided by Moscow which is currently being tested. So far, over 700 patients have recovered in China and elsewhere, suggesting the illness’ mortality rate could be less than that of SARS, a related coronavirus which gripped China in the early 2000s.

Cases of the virus have been confirmed in at least 25 nations, prompting health authorities around the world to impose travel warnings and restrictions in hopes to limit the spread of the outbreak. A number of countries – including the US, Russia, India and the UK – have also dispatched emergency evacuation flights to China to bring home citizens and officials stranded there.

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