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Coronavirus Claims 15 more lives- Death toll rises to 56, Shanghai Devastated

Coronavirus Claims 15 more lives- Death toll rises to 56, Shanghai Devastated
Highlights

Thousands of medical staff are sent to Wuhan and areas affected to treat the sick and stop the outbreak.

Here's what you need to know:

1) Death toll rises to 56; one fatality in Shanghai.

2) The central government is deploying hundreds of workers.

3) Americans in Wuhan being evacuated to San Francisco.

4) Hong Kong, reeling from protests, takes a new hit from the virus.

5) Canada announces its first case.

6) A rigid bureaucracy slowed the response to an emerging crisis.

7) Death toll rises to 56; one fatality in Shanghai.

China confirmed fifteen more deaths from the latest coronavirus on Sunday morning, including one in Shanghai, the first in the metropolis to date.

Thirteen more deaths were also reported in the province of Hubei, where the outbreak started, and one was reported in the province of Henan. The new deaths had taken China's toll to 56.

On Saturday, the government said early Sunday, 688 cases of the new virus were identified across the world. Which brings the number of confirmed cases to 1,975 total.

Coronavirus deaths had previously been reported outside of Hubei, the epicenter of the outbreak. Yet Shanghai's demise, which is among the most populous cities in China and a major commercial center, is likely to add to anxieties over the spread of the disease.

Municipal health commission Shanghai said on Sunday that the patient who died was an 88-year-old man.

The central government is deploying hundreds of workers.

In a sign that the central government was ramping up its the response, China's National Health Commission said it would send 1,230 medical experts to Wuhan to assist in treatment.

The army has sent another 450 people, from three military medical universities, to Wuhan, according to a state media article that the health commission shared on its website. And the air force sent military transport aircraft to the cities of Shanghai, Xi'an, and Chongqing to pick up emergency airlifts of medical team members and medical supplies for Wuhan.

Health officials in Wuhan said they would only assign 24 general hospitals to treat potential patients with coronavirus, according to People's Daily, the main newspaper for the Communist Party. National officials had called on Saturday for patients to be concentrated in specialized hospitals and new hospitals were being built specifically to treat patients.

Americans in Wuhan being evacuated to San Francisco.

The U.S. government gave details of its intention to evacuate U.S. officials and private citizens from the hit town of Wuhan, saying on Sunday it was planning a flight to leave on Tuesday and fly to San Francisco.

The State Department has ordered all American employees at the United States Consulate in Wuhan to leave the city. In an email sent on Sunday to Americans living in China, the department asked all other citizens who wanted a spot on the plane to contact the embassy in advance.

Capacity would be "extremely limited," the message said, and priority would be given to people at greater risk from the virus.

In Hong Kong, the virus further dampens the hobbled tourism industry, which has already been battered by months of protests against the government.

Two of the city's biggest attractions, Disneyland and Ocean Park, said they were closed till further notice on Sunday. A note on the website of Hong Kong Disneyland called that a "cautionary measure."

Shanghai's Disneyland park earlier had been shut indefinitely. China on Saturday had said that it would suspend all tour groups and the sale of flight and hotel packages for its citizens headed overseas starting on Monday. The weeklong Lunar New Year holiday, which began on Saturday is usually a peak travel period in China.

The steady stream of brutal, tear-gas-clouded confrontations between police officers and protesters had already frightened tourists off from Hong Kong. The effects of the slowdown in tourism have ripped across the economy of the city, which is largely dependent on the money visitors spend in malls, hotels, and restaurants. Hong Kong finds itself in recession now.

The semiautonomous territory's leader, Carrie Lam, declared a health emergency on Saturday and said Hong Kong schools would be closed until February.

Canada announces its first case.

Public health officials in Toronto announced on Saturday the night that test results showed that Canada has its first "presumptive" case of coronavirus.

Dr. Barbara Yaffe, Ontario's associate chief medical officer of health, said a patient is a man in his 50s who returned to Toronto on Jan. 22 after visiting Wuhan, China. The following day he was admitted to a major Toronto hospital with a respiratory infection. He is now in stable condition.

Dr. David Williams, Ontario's Chief Health Officer, said that while they are "convinced" that they have a positive case, a government laboratory in Winnipeg, Manitoba, must perform further confirmatory testing, which is why health officials still consider it presumptive.

After the 2003 SARS epidemic, which killed 44 people in and around Toronto, Canada's medical systems developed a series of health and safety measures to limit the spread of contagious diseases.

Dr. Williams said he was aware of his trip to China by paramedics and medical workers who treated the man and took precautions to avoid the possible spread of the virus.

"The system is working," Dr. Williams told a news conference.

Public health officials are contacting people who the patient may have encountered as well as anyone seated near him on his flight to Canada.

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