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Coronavirus: China accuses US of causing panic and ‘spreading fear’

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BBC

The Chinese government has accused the US of causing “panic” in its response to the deadly coronavirus outbreak.

It follows the US decision to declare a public health emergency and deny entry to foreign nationals who had visited China in the past two weeks.

There are more than 17,000 confirmed cases of the virus in China. Some 361 people have died there.

Outside China, there are more than 150 confirmed cases of the virus – and one death, in the Philippines.

The virus causes severe acute respiratory infection and symptoms seem to start with a fever, followed by a dry cough.

On Monday, a study by a Chinese virologist said a pneumonia outbreak associated with the coronavirus had likely started in bats.

One Briton ‘fell ill’ during Wuhan evacuation flight

The outbreak took its toll on Chinese shares when markets reopened on Monday following the Lunar New Year holiday. The Shanghai Composite index closed nearly 8% lower, its biggest daily drop for more than four years.

What measures has the US taken?

On 23 January, the US ordered the departure of all non-emergency US personnel and their family members from the city of Wuhan in Hubei province, where the virus originated.

Less than a week later, the US allowed for the voluntary departure of non-emergency personnel and relatives of US government employees from China.

On 30 January, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared a global health emergency over the new virus.

Following this, the US ordered the departure of all US personnel family members under the age of 21 in China.

Any US citizen who has been in Hubei province will be subject to 14 days’ quarantine upon returning to the US.