WUHAN/BEIJING, Jan. 24 (Xinhua) -- China is mobilizing medical staff to aid Wuhan, the center of the novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) outbreak, as the country reported 830 confirmed cases of pneumonia caused by the virus and 25 deaths by the end of Thursday.
By Thursday midnight, Hubei Province in central China reported 549 cumulative confirmed cases of the new coronavirus pneumonia, with 495 in Wuhan, the provincial capital. Nationwide, 29 provincial-level regions have reported confirmed cases.
Twenty-four deaths from the infection were reported in Hubei and one was in the northern Hebei Province, the National Health Commission (NHC) said Friday.
The country is mobilizing medical resources nationwide to aid Wuhan and control the epidemic.
The first group of 135 medical workers from hospitals in Shanghai is scheduled to fly to Wuhan on Friday night. Shanghai will dispatch 405 medical workers in three groups to Wuhan.
Ma Xin, vice president of Huashan Hospital Affiliated to the Fudan University in Shanghai, said one hour after he issued a notice of the recruiting in the hospital, three teams, each consisting of one doctor and three nurses, were set up.
An aid team consisting of 205 experienced doctors and nurses from nine hospitals in Guangdong Province has been set up and stands ready to leave for Wuhan, said Tan Linling, an official with the provincial health commission.
Doctors, nurses and experts from hospitals in other places such as Zhejiang and Sichuan have been selected or volunteered to sign up for the task.
Hubei reported 105 new confirmed novel coronavirus cases and an increase of seven deaths related to the new pneumonia disease on Thursday, the provincial health authorities said Friday.
On Friday, the province upgraded its public health emergency response from Level II to Level I. Other provincial-level regions, such as Beijing, Shanghai, Tianjin, Chongqing, Guangdong, Zhejiang, Hunan and Anhui have also activated the top-level response to the epidemic situation.
China on Thursday locked down Wuhan in an unprecedented effort to curb the spread of the new infectious disease.
The Wuhan headquarters for the control and treatment of pneumonia caused by the novel coronavirus said on Friday that Wuhan will follow Beijing's SARS treatment model to build a special hospital for admitting patients infected in the outbreak of pneumonia caused by the novel coronavirus.
The makeshift hospital designed to have an area of 25,000 square meters with 1,000 beds is expected to be completed and put into use prior to Feb. 3. It is expected to pool medical resources to provide isolated and efficient treatment for infected pneumonia patients.
In the treatment and control of SARS, or Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome, which spread rapidly on the Chinese mainland in 2003, Beijing built the Xiaotangshan Hospital, a temporary medical center in the northern suburb of the city.
Construction equipment has been sent to the hospital construction site.
"We've mobilized all the workers left in Wuhan to work in shifts to ensure round-the-clock construction," said Zhang Chongxi, general manager of the road and bridge company of Wuhan Construction.
Nationwide, large-scale activities for the Lunar New Year celebrations, including temple fairs, winter sports and exhibitions, have been canceled in efforts to minimize large gatherings of people in the novel coronavirus-related pneumonia prevention and control.
The Spring Festival, or Chinese Lunar New Year, falls on Jan. 25 this year. Festival events and activities are usually held during the week-long national holiday.
Beijing's landmark Palace Museum, also known as the Forbidden City, will stop admitting visitors from Jan. 25. The museum said in a statement that it will notify the public when there is a resumption date.
South China's Guangdong Province on Thursday banned the trade of wildlife and related products in the province, as the geographical distribution of Wuhan's infection cases indicates a close relationship between the outbreak and illegal sales of wildlife in a market.
Confirmed cases of the virus have also been reported in the regions of Hong Kong, Macao and Taiwan, as well as such countries as the United States, Japan, the Republic of Korea and Thailand.
The World Health Organization said Thursday it was too early to declare the outbreak of the novel coronavirus in China a public health emergency of international concern, while warning that the number of cases may rise as much about the virus remains unknown. Enditem