BEIJING - Hong Kong on Tuesday announced plans to slash cross-border travel between the city and mainland China as the new coronavirus continues to spread.

The Chinese authorities have so far confirmed 4,535 cases in China and 52 abroad, with 106 deaths, all in China since the outbreak of the new coronavirus epidemic in the country. High-speed trains and ferries that cross the border will be suspended from Thursday, Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam announced.

On the other hand, Director General of World Health Organization (WHO) Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said the world body did not recommend the evacuation of foreign nationals from China and called on the international community to remain calm and avoid overreacting.

In a meeting with Chinese State Council and Foreign Minister Wang Yi here, he said the WHO was confident in China’s epidemic prevention and control ability. According to Chinese foreign ministry, he said the WHO was confident in China’s handling of the outbreak of the novel coronavirus.

 

For his part, Wang Yi said the WHO chief’s visit to China at this time not only reflected the organization’s support for China, but also provided impetus for China to strengthen cooperation with the health organization. He said China had the experience of dealing with the SARS epidemic, and this time China was more resolute in the fight against the epidemic, had stronger measures and took faster action.

Wang said China was also willing to continue strengthening cooperation with the international community, especially the WHO, in an open and transparent manner, and make contributions to international public health. The pneumonia outbreak was first reported in Wuhan City, central China’s Hubei Province, in December 2019. Experts have attributed the outbreak to a novel coronavirus that has since spread across China and abroad.