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Coronavirus deaths hit 56

Street view after Wuhan government announced to ban non-essential vehicles in downtown area to contain coronavirus outbreak, on the second day of the Chinese Lunar New Year, in Wuhan, Hubei province, on Sunday. (cnsphoto via Reuters)

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SHANGHAI: More than 2,000 people have been infected with a new coronavirus, mostly in China where 56 people have died from it.

Chinese President Xi Jinping said on Saturday that China was facing a "grave situation", as health authorities around the world scrambled to prevent a pandemic.

The coronavirus transmission ability is getting stronger and infections could continue to rise, China's National Health Commission said on Sunday.

The virus, believed to have originated late last year in a seafood market in the central Chinese city of Wuhan that was illegally selling wildlife, has spread to Chinese cities including Beijing and Shanghai, as well as the US, Thailand, South Korea, Japan, Australia, France and Canada.

On Sunday, China announced a nationwide ban on the sale of wildlife in markets, restaurants, and e-commerce platforms. Wild animals packed together in Chinese markets are blamed as places for viruses to evolve and jump to humans.

The outbreak has prompted widening curbs on movements within China, with Wuhan, a city of 11 million, on virtual lockdown, with transport stopped except for emergency vehicles.

On Saturday, Hong Kong declared a virus emergency, scrapped celebrations and restricted links to mainland China.

Australia confirmed its first four cases on Saturday, Malaysia confirmed four, Thailand confirmed five and France reported Europe's first cases on Friday.

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Vocabulary:

ban : an official statement ordering people not to do, sell or use something - การห้าม

blame : to be responsible for something bad - เหตุขัดข้อง

confirm (verb): to state or show that something is definitely true or correct, especially by providing evidence - ยืนยัน

coronavirus (n): any of a group of viruses that cause a variety of diseases in humans and other animals -

curb : to control or limit something - จำกัดขอบเขต, ควบคุม

evolve : to develop gradually, or to cause something or someone to develop gradually - ค่อยๆ พัฒนา

grave : very serious; very dangerous - วิกฤติ, ร้ายแรง

infection : a disease or medical condition that is caused by a bacteria or by a virus or a parasite - การติดเชื้อ

lockdown (noun): an official order to control the movement of people or vehicles because of a dangerous situation -

outbreak : the sudden start of a disease - การระบาดของโรค

pandemic : a disease that affects almost everyone in a very large area - โรคที่มีการแพร่กระจายหรือระบาดไปทั่ว

scramble : to do something in a hurry - รีบเร่ง

scrapped : decided not to continue with something, such as a plan or event - ยุติแผนที่วางไว้

transmission : the spread of a disease from one person or animal to another - การแพร่เชื้อ

virus (noun): a living thing, too small to be seen without a microscope, that causes infectious disease in people, animals and plants - เชื้อไวรัส

wildlife : animals, birds, insects, etc. that are wild and live in a natural environment - สัตว์ป่า

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