By Sola Ogundipe with Agency report
A Wuhan hospital doctor has died nine days after contracting the deadly coronavirus as he battled to save infected patients in the city – as the death toll from China’s outbreak jumped to 42 from a total of 1,399 confirmed cases on Saturday.
Liang Wudong, 62, a retired medical doctor who had been treating patients in Wuhan, died from the virus according to an announcement by China Global Television Network in a tweet.
Wudong, who was drafted in to help with the outbreak, died even as it was reported that another doctor, Jiang Jijun, had died from a heart attack while treating patients.
It is unknown if the infectious disease specialist, who has treated bird flu and influenza A and tuberculosis over the years, died as a result of coronavirus or from exhaustion.
A distressing video has also emerged showing the full scale of panic inside Wuhan hospitals, with crowded corridors, patients slumped on the floor and screaming heard in the footage.
It shows staff shouting at patients to calm themselves as medics desperately try to contain the situation.
Some workers are reported to be wearing diapers as they don’t have time to use the toilet amid the panic.
No less than 56 million people are under lockdown as authorities expand travel bans in central Hubei province, now affecting 18 cities.
In Hong Kong, a virus emergency has been declared and a package of measures announced to limit the city’s links with mainland China.
Schools, now on Lunar New Year holidays, would remain shut until February 17, while inbound and outbound flights and high-speed rail trips between Hong Kong and Wuhan would be halted.
Wuhan says it will impose a ban on non-essential vehicles in the downtown area from January 26 to contain the virus outbreak
China’s National Health Commission announced it had formed six medical teams totaling 1,230 medical staff to help Wuhan. Three of the six teams, from Shanghai, Guangdong and military hospitals have arrived in Wuhan.
Starbucks said it was closing all outlets in Hubei province, following a similar move by McDonald’s in five cities.
Wuhan, a city of 11 million, has been in virtual lockdown since Thursday, with nearly all flights at the airport canceled and checkpoints blocking the main roads leading out of town.
Authorities have since imposed transport restrictions on nearly all of Hubei province, which has a population of 59 million.
Meanwhile, Hong Kong has declared a virus emergency announcing a series of measures to limit the city’s links with mainland China.
It was also gathered that Shanghai has shut all cinemas until 30 January in a desperate bid to try and stop the spread of the killer virus.
Global airports have stepped up screening of passengers from China, though some have questioned its worth.
Some Chinese sources say the virus is mutating and can be transmitted through human contact, mostly affecting the frail and old.