Listen Live


HONG KONG — Hong Kong announced Tuesday that it was closing all of its border crossings with mainland China in a bid to contain the Wuhan coronavirus, as the death toll from the outbreak topped 100, with more than 4,500 cases in the mainland.

Carrie Lam, chief executive of the semi-autonomous Chinese city, told a news conference that the closures would be “temporary,” adding the city was also slashing the number of tourist visas it issues to visitors from mainland China and halving the number of inbound flights from the mainland.

Authorities in Hubei, the Chinese province at the center of the outbreak, earlier said an additional 1,300 cases had been confirmed, bringing the total in the region to over 2,700. The majority of those are still in the hospital, with more than 125 in critical condition. Between Sunday and Monday, there was a 65{5ad3c25f5d8a6462a9daae157324f98d5b0edc4be0c0ed5ad8ca367936c1d337} jump in the number of reported cases in mainland China, from around 2,700 to over 4,500.

Elsewhere in China, cases have been confirmed in every province and territory except for Tibet, which this week announced the indefinite closure of all tourist attractions and a mandatory two-week quarantine for all travelers entering the region.

The move to close off Hong Kong comes after intense pressure from lawmakers and medical unions, one of which had threatened to strike if the border was not shut.

On Monday, the US Centers for Disease Control (CDC) issued a level 3 alert warning against “all nonessential travel to China” — its highest alert on a scale of 1 to 3.

“There is an ongoing outbreak of respiratory illness caused by a novel (new) coronavirus that can be spread from person to person,” the CDC said in a statement, warning “there is limited access to adequate medical care in affected areas.”

More than a dozen countries around the world have confirmed cases of the Wuhan virus, as authorities struggle to stop its spread.

(PHOTO: AFP/Getty Images)