China has locked down three cities with a combined population of 20 million in an unprecedented effort to contain the deadly coronavirus. As of Thursday, the virus had killed 17 people and infected more than 634.
The Wall Street Journal reports: On Thursday, authorities in Huanggang—a city of 7.5 million people—said they wouldn’t let long-distance trains and buses run from the urban center and would shut its public transportation system in the lockdown zone, effective midnight Friday local time. Ezhou, another neighboring city with just over a million residents, said it would enact similar restrictions, bringing the total number of cities with travel restrictions to three. Huanggang is about 35 miles east of Wuhan, a city of 11 million and a major hub for travel, where the new pneumonia-causing coronavirus originated. Wuhan just hours earlier halted outbound trains and flights and shut down its public-transportation system.
The Chinese capital of Beijing has also canceled all large-scale Chinese New Year celebrations.
More from the Associated Press: Police, SWAT teams and paramilitary troops guarded Wuhan’s train station, where metal barriers blocked the entrances at 10 a.m. sharp. Only travelers holding tickets for the last trains were allowed to enter, with those booked for later trains being turned away. … Health authorities were taking extraordinary measures to prevent additional person-to-person transmissions, placing those suspected to be infected in plastic tubes and wheeled boxes where air passed through filters. … WHO plans another meeting of scientific experts Thursday on whether to recommend declaring the outbreak a global health emergency, which it defines as an “extraordinary event” that constitutes a risk to other countries and requires a coordinated international response.