İrem UZUN -TDO- A sense of panic has spread in Wuhan as the Chinese city of 11 million people was put on lockdown in an attempt to quarantine a deadly virus believed to have originated there. Authorities banned transport links from Wuhan, the capital of Hubei province, on Thursday morning, suspending buses, subways, ferries, and shutting the airport and train stations to outgoing passengers. Later in the day, the nearby central Chinese cities of Huanggang and Ezhou announced similar measures. Travel restrictions were also placed on the smaller cities of Chibi and Zhijiang.
Giving details on infections in China, state television said 634 cases had been confirmed. By the end of Wednesday, China's National Health Commission confirmed 17 dead in the central province of Hubei. Health authorities in Hebei, just south of Beijing, said on Thursday an 80- year-old man infected with the coronavirus had died there, marking the first confirmed death outside Hubei. He died on Wednesday but was not confirmed to have been infected with the virus until Thursday.
In Geneva, the World Health Organization (WHO) delayed its decision on whether to declare the outbreak a global health emergency and asked an expert committee to continue meeting for a second day on Thursday. Health officials fear the transmission rate could accelerate as hundreds of millions of Chinese travel at home and abroad during week-long holidays for the Lunar New Year, which begins on Saturday.