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A police officer checks the temperature of a driver at a highway in Wuhan, in China's central Hubei province, on January 24, 2020.

A police officer checks the temperature of a driver at a highway in Wuhan, in China's central Hubei province, on January 24, 2020. (Photo: STR/AFP/Getty Images)

35 Million Under Lockdown in China as Coronavirus Spreads, Illness Confirmed in Chicago

There have been two confirmed cases of the disease in the U.S. so far, and a number of further samples are being tested.

Eoin Higgins

The coronavirus pandemic in China's northeastern Wuhan province led to the Asian nation shutting down travel for around 35 million citizens as authorities rushed to contain the outbreak. 

Tens of millions of people in China's Hubei province and surrounding areas, including the city of Wuhan, were barred from travel. The order comes during China's Lunar New Year celebrations, a time when many in the country are on the move.

As the New York Times reported, the disease could be poised for a worldwide outbreak:

The rapidly expanding outbreak has overwhelmed the Chinese province's hospitals and fueled fears of a global pandemic. Chinese health officials reported on Friday that there had been 26 deaths from the outbreak and 830 cases of the coronavirus, a sharp increase.

All the deaths reported so far have been in China. Most have been older patients, but included a 36-year-old man.

President Donald Trump told CNBC Friday that he believed "China's in very good shape."

According to the Guardian, not so much:

Footage that appears to have been taken inside medical facilities, and shared on social media, shows staff unable to manage the huge influx of people. In one clip, a patient lies on the floor of a crowded room, apparently having fainted. In another, a woman wearing a face mask cries out for help, saying: "I have a fever." It is not possible to verify the videos.

Common Dreams reported on Wednesday that the outbreak is backdropped in the U.S. by a series of cuts to public health by Trump's administration—raising concerns over the country's readiness to handle a pandemic that continued through Friday. 

"We have it totally under control," Trump told CNBC.

A woman in Chicago was the second confirmed case in the U.S. after the virus was discovered in Washington state.

At least one other potential case is being monitored in Texas, and testing is being done on at least three other suspected cases in Michigan, one in Tennessee, one in Minnesota, one in California, and four in New York

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