Policemen wearing protective facemasks to help stop the spread of a deadly SARS-like virus which originated in the central city of Wuhan, are seen in front of the closed gate of the Lama Temple in Beijing on January 25, 2020. China marked its most important holiday under a cloud of fear and gloom Saturday as the toll from a deadly respiratory virus jumped to 41, with almost 1,300 people now known to be infected. The Lunar New Year is normally China's most festive time, but holiday observances across the country have been cancelled and citizens advised to hunker down in isolation at home, with over a dozen cities under lockdown.
AFP/Noel Celis
China deploys 450 military medical staff to virus epicentre
none (Agence France-Presse) - January 25, 2020 - 12:38pm

BEIJING, China — China has deployed 450 military medical staff, some with experience combating SARS or Ebola, to a central city stricken by a virus that has killed dozens of people, state media said Saturday.

The medics, who arrived in Wuhan on military aircraft late Friday, will be dispatched to hospitals with large numbers of infected patients, according to the official Xinhua news agency.

The move marks a dramatic escalation in the central government's involvement to contain the virus, which has killed 41 people and infected 1,287 others across the country.

It also follows reports of bed shortages in hospitals designated to deal with the outbreak in Wuhan, which has borne the brunt of the health emergency.

The government has even started construction on a special hospital in Wuhan to deal with the virus, with plans to finish it within a staggering 10 days.

Xinhua said the military team is composed of experts in respiratory health, infectious diseases, hospital infection control and intensive care.

In a sign Wuhan authorities are feeling the pressure, Hubei governor Jiang Chaoliang said in a meeting Friday that Wuhan must "make every effort" to increase isolation places and beds.

Hospitals must also make sure patients are "admitted in time," according to a statement on the government's website.

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