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Coronavirus: President Xi warns of 'grave situation' as China infection spreads

25 January

China has confirmed 1,372 people have been infected with coronavirus and 41 people have died.

It comes as President Xi Jinping told a politburo meeting the country was facing a "grave situation" where the virus is "accelerating its spread".
A report on state TV said resources and experts are being concentrated at designated hospitals for treatment of severe cases, with no treatment delayed due to cost, and supplies of materials to Hubei province and its capital Wuhan to be guaranteed.
The latest tally comes from 29 provinces and cities across China and includes 237 patients in serious condition.
All 41 deaths have been in China, including 39 in Hubei province, the epicentre of the outbreak, one each in Hebei and Heilongjiang provinces.
China added three cities to those cut off from transportation, bringing the total to 16 in Hubei province and covering a population greater than that of New York, London, Paris and Moscow combined.
Authorities are trying to limit further spread of the disease by preventing people from leaving Wuhan, the city of 11 million where the outbreak originated, and the surrounding area.
The Chinese military dispatched 450 medical staff, some with experience in past outbreaks including SARS and Ebola, who arrived in Wuhan late on Friday night to help treat the many patients hospitalised with viral pneumonia.
Two new dedicated hospitals are being built in the city to cope with rising numbers of cases.
Construction has already started on the first facility, with enough space for 1,000 patients, which is expected to be completed by 3 February.
The second, which is designed to have 1,300 beds, is due to be finished within three weeks.
The Ministry of Commerce is co-ordinating an effort to supply more than two million masks and other products from elsewhere in the country.
An unprecedented national lockdown that has kept people from travelling has been expanded to more than 50 million residents, and authorities have cancelled a host of Lunar New Year events.
Temples locked their doors, Beijing's Forbidden City, Shanghai Disneyland and other major tourist destinations closed, and people cancelled restaurant reservations ahead of the holiday.
The vast majority of cases have been in and around Wuhan or involved people who visited the city or had personal connections to those infected.
About two dozen cases in all have been confirmed outside mainland China, nearly all of them in Asia: Hong Kong, Macao, South Korea, Japan, Singapore, Thailand, Taiwan, Vietnam, Nepal, Australia and Malaysia.
The virus has also been detected in the US and France.
While most of the deaths have been older patients, a 36-year-old man in Hubei died on Thursday.
State-run China Global Television Network also confirmed that a doctor who had been treating patients in Wuhan, 62-year-old Liang Wudong, had died from the virus.
The UK Foreign Office is advising against "all travel to Wuhan city".
It said: "If you are in this area and able to leave, you should do so."
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Coronavirus: China's history of building hospitals in times of crisis

25 January

China's Wuhan city, the centre of the outbreak of the new coronavirus, will build a second dedicated hospital to treat patients.

Construction has already started on the first facility, with enough space for 1,000 patients, which is expected to be completed by 3 February.
The second, which is designed to have 1,300 beds, is due to be finished within three weeks.
This may seem like an unrealistic time frame, however, China has a history of quickly building hospitals at times of crisis.
During the SARS outbreak in 2003, 7,000 people worked day and night in Beijing, taking just seven days to build the Xiaotangshan facility.
It is believed to hold the world record for the fastest construction of a hospital and is thought to have treated one-seventh of China's SARS patients at the time.
China's Peoples Daily newspaper called the building "a miracle in the history of medicine".
That building is believed to be the template for the two prefabricated hospitals being built in Wuhan.
Dozens of diggers and bulldozers arrived at the 25,000 sq metre site on the outskirts of the city on Thursday.
To speed construction and keep costs down, the hospital is being built with prefabricated buildings around a holiday complex originally intended for local workers.
With coronavirus cases rising, the construction can't come soon enough.
President Xi Jinping told a politburo meeting China was facing a "grave situation" where the coronavirus is "accelerating its spread".
A report on state TV said resources and experts are being concentrated at designated hospitals for treatment of severe cases, with no treatment delayed due to cost, and supplies of materials to Hubei province and its capital Wuhan to be guaranteed.
:: Listen to the Daily podcast on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify, Spreaker
China's National Health Commission has said the death toll had risen to 41 and a jump in the number of people infected to 1,287.
All deaths have been in China, including 39 in the Hubei province, the centre of the outbreak, one in Hebei and one in Heilongjiang.

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Jordan Sinnott: Footballer dies in hospital after being found with fractured skull

25 January

A murder inquiry has been launched after a footballer who was found unconscious with a suspected fractured skull later died in hospital.

Jordan Sinnott, 25, was discovered seriously injured after what police described as "two large-scale disturbances" in Retford, Nottinghamshire, in the early hours of Saturday morning.
Officers said a group of up to "eight men and women" were involved, according to reports.
Sinnott's club, Matlock Town, said he had been put on a life support machine. He died shortly before 6pm on Saturday, police said.
Paying tribute to the former Huddersfield Town and Chesterfield player, Matlock said he was their "friend and brother" and had scored his "first career hat-trick in your final game for the club".
Keith Brown, chief executive of the non-league club, said "family and friends were with him at his bedside".
Nottinghamshire Police said officers initially responded to reports of a disturbance in the Dominie Cross pub car park in Grove Street shortly after 11.25pm on Friday.
The force said officers were "later called to assist ambulance crews who were attempting to treat Jordan Sinnott after he was found unconscious with a suspected fractured skull following a subsequent incident at around 2am in the town's Market Place".
Detective Inspector Justine Wilson said the "incident happened at a very busy time and we believe there are still a number of witnesses who have still not yet come forward who may hold vital information about how a young man came to lose his life so tragically".
Mr Sinnott was the son of football manager and former player Lee Sinnott.
Matlock Town tweeted: "Rest easy Jordan, we love, miss and will never forget you.".
Huddersfield Town said it was "devastated to hear that former player Jordan Sinnott has passed away today", adding that he was a graduate of the club's academy.
Matlock Town earlier tweeted that their Saturday away game against Mickleover Sports had been postponed due to "tragic and unforeseen circumstances".
Mr Sinnott joined Matlock from Alfreton Town, who also called off their Saturday fixture following the incident.
Alfreton said they were "saddened and heartbroken".
Mr Simmott also played for Bury and Halifax Town.

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Portsmouth: 'Concern' for mum after newborn baby found dead in street

25 January

Police are "extremely concerned" for the mother of a newborn baby found dead in a street in Portsmouth.

The infant was discovered at the junction of Victoria Street and Old Commercial Road shortly after 6.15am today.
Detective Chief Inspector Simon Baker said he was making a "direct appeal" to the child's mother to get in touch.
"I know this must be a very distressing time for you, but I want to make sure you are getting the right help and care," he said.
"I understand you may be frightened, but it is important that you get in touch with us."
Officers are carrying out house to house inquiries.
Mr Baker also appealed to "anyone who has concerns about someone who has recently been heavily pregnant, that you suspect may have been heavily pregnant or who has given birth very recently".
He continued: "Or maybe you have concerns for the whereabouts of a recently born baby.

"Anyone who contacts us can speak with us in complete confidence.
"We are extremely concerned for the welfare of the mother of this child."
A baby boy was also found abandoned shortly before midday in Dalston, east London, and is now being cared for in hospital.
It appears he was "born outside of a hospital environment", police said.
He was discovered in a grey babygrow and hat and wrapped in a white knitted blanket on Sandringham Road in Dalston.
Police are urging his mother to come forward to receive medical care and support.
Inspector Kevin Weeks appealed to her to "make contact either with police, your local hospital or GP surgery and let us know that you are safe".
He added: "Our primary focus is to ensure the wellbeing of both you and your child.
"I would also urge anyone who has information that could help us to reunite this baby with his mother to come forward."
Anyone with information about the Portsmouth case should call 101, quoting Operation Cravat or 44200030626. Alternatively, they can ring Crimestoppers, anonymously, on 0800 555 111.
Anyone with information on the Dalston case should call 101 and quote CAD 3039/25Jan.

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Grenfell Tower inquiry member resigns over links to cladding firm

25 January

A member of the Grenfell Tower inquiry panel has resigned over links to the firm that supplied the building's cladding.

Benita Mehra had connections to Arconic's charitable arm, the Arconic Foundation.
Tendering her resignation to the prime minister, the engineer said she recognised and respected the "concern" and "depth of feeling" among survivors and the bereaved about her appointment.
Survivors' group Grenfell United said Ms Mehra had done the "dignified thing by resigning" and that her departure "helps lift growing anxiety ahead of phase two".
But it added that the government "should never have put families in this situation" and accused it of failing to "carry out basic checks".
Mayor of London Sadiq Khan said Ms Mehra's resignation was "welcome news" and her appointment should "never have been made in the first place".
The fire in June 2017 claimed 72 lives - the first phase of the inquiry finding that the cladding was the "principal" reason for the flames' rapid spread.
Ms Mehra had been due to replace an academic, Professor Nabeel Hamdi, on the panel for the second phase of the inquiry, due to begin on Monday.
Since her appointment was announced shortly before Christmas, it has emerged she was an immediate past president of the Women's Engineering Society (WES).
According to the society's website, it received funding from the Arconic Foundation for an apprentice conference last year.
Ms Mehra said her role at the WES was unpaid and the grant from Arconic was ringfenced to fund the mentoring scheme.
She wrote to Boris Johnson: "For these reasons, I did not link any aspect of my former role as president of the WES to my panel member role for the Grenfell Tower inquiry. In hindsight, this was a regrettable oversight on my part.
"I am confident that had I continued in my role at the inquiry I would have approached my work with complete independence and impartiality at all times. However, I recognise and respect the depth of feeling among some core participants about my appointment."
The report following the first phase of the inquiry, published in October, said the cladding supplied by Arconic did not comply with building regulations.
Arconic said a "confluence of unfortunate circumstances" rather than the "mere presence" of the panels had caused the spread of the fire.
Boris Johnson said: "I can confirm that Benita Mehra wrote to me yesterday to offer her resignation from the Grenfell Tower inquiry panel and I have accepted.
"I would like to thank Benita for her commitment and I am very grateful for her sensitivity to the work of the inquiry."

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