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Coronavirus Cases Rise Above 20,000 in China as Hong Kong Reports First Death


Macau moved to shut its casinos and China injected more cash into its banking system on Tuesday, as the number of confirmed cases of the coronavirus rose above 20,000 and Hong Kong reported its first death from the quickly spreading pathogen.

Gambling center Macau, whose casinos rack up revenues that are more than six times that of the Las Vegas Strip, is closing casinos for two weeks because of the coronavirus, Chief Executive Ho Iat-seng said Tuesday.

Nurses put on protective gear in Beijing Ditan Hospital.


Peng Ziyang/Zuma Press

The announcement came after Hong Kong recorded its first death from the coronavirus, a 39-year-old male who had been to Wuhan, the Chinese city where the outbreak began, in January. It was the second coronavirus death outside mainland China, following the death in the Philippines of a 44-year-old man from Wuhan on Saturday.

Hong Kong Chief Executive

Carrie Lam

has faced calls from some politicians and medical professionals in the city to fully close the border with the mainland. The city, which has 15 confirmed cases of the coronavirus, is set to shut some of its busiest checkpoints with mainland China late Tuesday night, tightening the border for a second time since the outbreak began.

Meantime, India said it had banned all Chinese citizens and others who had recently been in the virus-stricken country, from entering the country.

The United Arab Emirates joined several other Middle Eastern countries in restricting travel to China. Flights, except those going to Beijing, will be suspended indefinitely starting Wednesday, the aviation authority there said Monday.

The number of confirmed coronavirus cases in mainland China rose to 20,438, while the death toll reached 425, according to the latest data from China’s official National Health Commission.

Chinese stock markets steadied Tuesday, after plunging on the first day of trading after the Lunar New Year holiday, despite liquidity injections from the central bank and vows to support financial institutions. The People’s Bank of China injected a further 500 billion yuan ($71.2 billion) of liquidity via reverse repurchase agreements into the financial system Tuesday, adding to the 1.2 trillion yuan injected Monday.

China has rushed to build two makeshift hospitals in the epicenter of the coronavirus outbreak. As the first facility is completed, footage from state media shows what it looks like. Photo: str/Agence France-Presse/Getty Images

Write to Stephanie Yang at [email protected]

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