(Update 1, adds details)
Beijing, Jan 25 (EFE).- At least 16 more people were confirmed dead on Saturday from a deadly new coronavirus, taking the death toll to 41 in China as the country grapples to contain the outbreak that has so far infected nearly 1,300 people.
The National Health Commission said 444 fresh cases were reported since Friday, raising the number to 1,287 of confirmed patients.
The health commission said that 237 patients were serious while 38 had been cured and discharged from hospitals.
Health authorities have carried out checkups on 15,197 people who have come into close contact with infected persons. Nearly 14,000 of them continue to be monitored for any symptom.
Outside China, five infected persons were reported in Thailand with two of the patients cured, three each in Taiwan, Singapore and France and two each in Japan (one cured), South Korea, the United States, and Vietnam. One case has been reported in Nepal.
The symptoms of the new coronavirus, provisionally designated by the World Health Organization as 2019-nCoV, are similar to those of cold but may be accompanied by fever and fatigue, dry cough and dyspnea (shortness of breath).
The WHO has so far decided not to declare an international health emergency due to strict measures carried out in China, which include complete suspension of transport in around a dozen cities in Hubei province and canceling Chinese New Year celebrations.
Traditional events at Lama Temple and Ditan Park in Beijing were canceled due to the risk of spreading the virus, authorities reported Friday, while the famous Forbidden City has also been closed indefinitely.
China has deployed around 600 personnel, including doctors and other health professions, to Wuhan to help fight the disease.
China Eastern airlines flight MU5000 landed in Wuhan at 1.26 am on Saturday carrying 136 medical professionals from 30 hospitals in Shanghai, official daily Global Times reported.
Another report in state news agency Xinhua said that the authorities had sent 450 military health professionals to Wuhan, including some who had experience of fighting the Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome, (SARS) caused by a similar virus, and Ebola.
These 450 medical professionals are from different medical colleges of the army, navy and air force and arrived in Wuhan on Friday night in military planes.
The group includes experts in respiratory health, contagious diseases, infection control and intensive care, and would be deployed in Wuhan hospitals where the majority of the coronavirus patients are admitted.
Wuhan, the capital of Hubei, where the virus was first reported, has been on lockdown since Thursday to prevent further spread of the virus and the city's authorities have begun to build a "special hospital" with 1,000 beds for infected patients.
"Construction of the special hospital with a capacity of 1,000 beds for patients with #nCoV2019 has begun in Wuhan," official China Daily said on Twitter, which is blocked in the country.
The hospital in Wuhan will be based on the model of a similar facility that was built in just seven days in Beijing to deal with SARS in 2003. EFE
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