China expands lockdowns to 25M people to halt viral outbreak

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A box of masks imported from Japan sits inside a Yifeng Pharmacy in Wuhan, China, Wednesday, Jan. 22, 2020. Pharmacies in Wuhan are restricting customers to buying one mask at a time amid high demand and worries over an outbreak of a new coronavirus. The number of cases of the new virus has risen to over 400 in China and the death toll to 9, Chinese health authorities said Wednesday. (AP Photo/Dake Kang)

BEIJING (AP) – China broadened its unprecedented, open-ended lockdowns to encompass around 25 million people to try to contain a deadly new virus.

Experts admit, however, that the measures’ potential for success is uncertain. At least eight cities have been shut down, all of them in central China’s Hubei province, where the illness has been concentrated.

Major public events were canceled, including traditional temple fairs popular during the Lunar New Year.

The number of cases has risen to 830 in China, with 26 deaths. The first deaths were confirmed outside Hubei, two cases in two northern and northeast provinces.

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