With coronavirus cases mounting daily—along with the number of cities where transport has been locked down—China plans to build a new hospital in just six days. Work began Thursday night on a 1,000-bed facility in Wuhan, the epicenter of the outbreak, reports the Guardian. China shut down public transport in Wuhan Thursday morning and also shut down travel out of the city of 11 million people. Beijing and other major cities have banned large gatherings over the upcoming Chinese New Year period, during which hundreds of millions of people travel around the country, reports the Washington Post. Authorities say cases of the new virus have now been reported in almost every Chinese province, with at least 26 deaths.
Some 13 cities—Wuhan and 12 of its neighbors in Hubei province—have now been locked down, with more than 33 million people affected, the AP reports. Hospitals in Wuhan and other cities, which have been struggling to deal with a flood of patients, have issued calls for the public to donate protective equipment including masks and goggles. Residents say they have been turned away from hospitals—and many stores have been cleared of food. Chinese authorities have not said how long the lockdowns are likely to last. Vietnam and Singapore confirmed cases of the virus Thursday, bringing the number of countries affected to seven, including the US. The World Health Organization said Thursday that the number of overseas cases are too low to declare a global health emergency, but the outbreak "may yet become one." (Read more coronavirus stories.)