(Yicai Global) Jan. 21 -- Authorities in Wuhan, the Chinese city where the outbreak of a new strain of coronavirus first started, is ramping up measures to control its spread as a fourth death is confirmed.
At this seasonal time of mass migration in China -- as people return to their hometowns to celebrate the Chinese New Year with family -- the city has installed infrared thermometers at airports, railway stations and intercity bus stations, the People's Daily reported today. Local tour groups leaving the city have been told to stay put.
Wuhan will increase sanitary inspections of farmers' markets and will impose 24-hour controls on entrances and exits to the Huanan Seafood Wholesale Market, the origin of the first cases, the report added, citing the municipal government. Police will also carry out random inspections of vehicles entering and leaving Wuhan to search for live poultry and wild animals.
Domestic airlines including China Southern Airlines, Hainan Airlines and Shenzhen Airlines will reschedule for free or give a full refund to any sick passengers booked to leave Wuhan. Leading online travel agency Trip.Com said it will not charge users to cancel Wuhan hotel, transport and ticket bookings until Jan. 31.
Medical institutions in Wuhan started receiving cases of a mysterious pneumonia at the end of December. Preliminary tests showed that a new type of coronavirus may be the cause of the infection. Cases were initially limited to Wuhan, a transit hub home to 11 million residents, but many Chinese provinces and cities have detected infected people in recent days coming from the city.
Wuhan confirmed 136 new cases on Jan. 19. Four deaths have been reported so far. Suspected cases have also popped up in Australia, Japan, South Korea, Singapore and Thailand.
Editor: Kim Taylor