Teachers and students from Wuhan to visit New Zealand while deadly coronavirus spreads

Teachers and university students from the Chinese city of Wuhan, which is being ravaged by the deadly coronavirus, are set to visit New Zealand, according to a report.

The virus originated in the central Chinese city of Wuhan in Hubei late last year and has spread to Chinese cities including Beijing and Shanghai, as well as the US, Thailand, South Korea and Japan.

China has confirmed 830 cases of patients infected with the virus as of Friday, while the death toll has risen to 25, the National Health Commission said.

TVNZ has reported that about 100 teachers and students from Wuhan are due to make their way to New Zealand in 2020 - some of those due to touch down in the next few weeks.

Canterbury, Massey and Auckland are said to be the universities that will host those arriving.

A spokesperson for Massey told TVNZ they were monitoring the situation and would educate students about what to look out for. 

Across the Tasman, New South Wales is investigating four cases of patients potentially infected with the virus.

"We will not be disclosing the hospital locations of patients under investigation for privacy reasons," a statement from NSW Health said, adding the public will be updated if any cases are confirmed.

Most transport in Wuhan, a city of 11 million people, was suspended on Thursday (local time) and people were told not to leave. Hours later, neighboring Huanggang, a city of about seven million people, announced a similar lockdown.

The newly identified coronavirus has created an alarm because there are a number of unknowns surrounding it. It is too early to know just how dangerous it is and how easily it spreads between people.


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