China shuts down city of Wenzhou, far from virus epicentre

Volunteers in protective suits disinfect a residential compound in Zhejiang province, China, on Jan 30, 2020. Zhejiang has the highest number of coronavirus cases outside Hubei. PHOTO: REUTERS

BEIJING (AFP) - The eastern Chinese city of Wenzhou restricted the movement of residents and closed roads on Sunday (Feb 2) in the most drastic steps taken by authorities outside the epicentre of a deadly virus.

Only one resident per household is allowed to go out every two days to buy necessities, the authorities said, in the city of nine million, while 46 highway toll stations have been closed.

Zhejiang province has the highest number of confirmed cases outside central Hubei province at 661 confirmed infections, with 265 of those in Wenzhou.

The city - which is more than 800km away by road from Wuhan, the epicentre - has also cancelled public events and closed public places like swimming pools, cinemas and museums.

Wenzhou's metro line and public transport have also been suspended as have inter-province buses.

Schools and universities will not resume classes until after March 1, and the authorities said enterprises should not resume work until after Feb 17 - except government institutions and administrative departments, which will start work on Feb 9.

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