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Hong Kong declares Wuhan virus outbreak an 'emergency'

Hong Kong: Hong Kong on Saturday declared a new coronavirus outbreak as an "emergency" –the city's highest warning tier –as authorities ramped up measures to reduce the risk of further infections.

The announcement came as city leader Carrie Lam faced criticism in some quarters over her administration's response to the crisis.

Of the five people who have tested positive for the virus in Hong Kong so far, four arrived via a newly built high-speed train terminal which connects with the mainland.

That led to calls from some medical experts and politicians to limit, or even halt, arrivals from China, the epicentre of the outbreak with 41 people dead. Lam held emergency meetings with health officials on Saturday morning after returning from Davos.

"Today I declare the lifting of the response level to emergency," she told reporters.

Schools and universities, which are currently on a Lunar New Year break, would remain closed until 17 February, Lam said. All mainland arrivals to Hong Kong will now need to sign health declaration forms, she added, while public events including a new year gala and next month's marathon, would also be called off.

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