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China’s isolation continues as the number of coronavirus deaths reaches 259

UNITED STATES (OBSERVATORY NEWS) — China faced deepening isolation over its coronavirus epidemic today as the death toll rose to 259 – with key US and Australian countries deciding to ban travel to China and vice versa.

With Britain, Russia and Sweden among the countries confirming their first infections, the virus has now spread to many countries around the world, sending governments to limit their exposure.

China stepped up its measures at the center of the blast in Hubei province, a day after the US temporarily banned entry for foreigners who had been in China for the past two weeks.

“Foreign nationals, except for the close family of US citizens and permanent residents … will be denied entry to the United States,” Health Secretary Alex Azar said.

Australia said it was blocking entry for non-nationals coming from China, while Australian nationals who had traveled there would be required to go into “isolation” for two weeks.

Vietnam suspended all flights from mainland China and Hong Kong from Saturday.

Similar expanding restrictions have been announced by countries such as Italy, Singapore, and China’s northern neighbor, Mongolia.

The US, Japan, Britain, Germany and other nations had already advised their citizens not to travel to China.

Britain said on Saturday it was temporarily withdrawing some diplomatic staff and their families from across the country, a day after the US State Department ordered embassy staff to send family members under the age of 21 home.

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