China spends $4.5bn as Wuhan coronavirus cases set to peak

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A man wears a mask while walking in the street on January 22, 2020 in Wuhan, Hubei province, China. (Photo by Getty Images)
A man wears a mask while walking in the street on January 22, 2020 in Wuhan, Hubei province, China. (Photo by Getty Images)

New cases of coronavirus continue to pop up around the world. Spanish health officials say an instance on the island of Mallorca may be linked to a French ski resort. Five Britons contracted the virus in the French Alps after being exposed by someone who returned from a conference in Singapore.

A cruise ship in Japan reported six more cases to 70, making it the biggest center of infections outside of China.

Despite the challenges of containing the global outbreak, scientists modeling the virus in Wuhan predict that infections may peak later this month. The illness has killed 813 people, making it deadlier than the SARS outbreak almost two decades ago. Reported cases in China have climbed to 37 198.

China said it's spent 31.55 billion yuan ($4.5bn) to combat the coronavirus, from an allocation of 71.85 billion yuan, according to the official Xinhua News Agency. Premier Li Keqiang said drugs and vaccines are needed to fight the illness, according to China's CCTV.

China boosts funding

China said it's spent 31.55 billion yuan of the 71.85 billion yuan allocated to fight the outbreak, according to Xinhua, which cited Finance Minister Liu Kun. Liu said authorities will make moves to support bringing the epidemic under control, and urged local and regional officials to look out for small businesses that have been hurt.

China's central bank will provide the first batch of special re-lending funds for combating the coronavirus on Monday, and will offer the facility weekly to banks later this month.

Singapore revokes work permits

Singapore authorities revoked the work permits of four foreigners and immediately repatriated them after a breach of quarantine orders. Along with two permanent residents, they were caught working at their various places of employment during a leave-of-absence period that's mandatory for those who had recently returned from China.

Six employers had their foreign hiring privileges suspended for two years for not ensuring their workers stay home, the manpower ministry said.

Spanish links to French ski resort

A United Kingdom citizen tested positive on the Balearic island of Mallorca, according to Spanish health officials, who added that the infection appears to have occurred in a ski resort in France.

"The British patient had been exposed to another person with before arriving to Mallorca," Fernando Simon, national director of the center for coordination of alerts and emergencies, said in a televised press conference.

The rest of the man's family have tested negative for the virus, but will continue to be under observation, he said. It's unlikely they will develop the virus although if they have been negative so far. The patient is the second case detected in Spain, and in both cases contagion occurred outside Spain.

The family arrived in late-January, and the father started to develop a fever and other weak symptoms over the following 24 hours, Simon said. The patient will remain isolated in the hospital on the island while undergoing further tests before being allowed to return to the UK, Simon said.

On Saturday, French Health Minister Agnes Buzyn said a group of Britons sharing a ski holiday in Les Contamines-Montjoie in the Alps were diagnosed with the virus. Four adults and a child have been confirmed as having the illness and 11 people have been hospitalized. The nine-year-old boy who was among the new cases had visited two local schools in the area.

Spain's Simon didn't identify the French resort where the Mallorca case may have occurred.

Fourth case in Britain

In England, a further patient has tested positive for novel coronavirus, bringing the total number of cases in the U.K. to four, the Press Association reported, citing England's Chief Medical Officer Chris Whitty.

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