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SA teachers in China: People are extremely scared amid coronavirus outbreak

A South African teacher working in Shanghai has described scenes of empty streets in one of the world’s most populated cities.

Passengers at a train station connecting Hong Kong to mainland China, wearing masks as a preventative measure following a coronavirus outbreak which began in the Chinese city of Wuhan. Picture: AFP.

CAPE TOWN - Fear continues to grip China as a virus continues to spread.

A South African teacher working in Shanghai has described scenes of empty streets in one of the world’s most populated cities.

The death toll has soared to 132 following the outbreak of the pneumonia-like disease. Thousands more have been infected, as the outbreak spreads globally.

The source of the coronavirus outbreak, as well as the extent to which it has spread in China, are still unclear.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) will send a team of experts to work with Chinese scientists to better understand the outbreak and guide global response efforts.

One South African English teacher said the streets in the country's biggest city and global financial hub, Shanghai, were basically empty.

“People are extremely scared. It looks like a ghost city. People are scared to go out.”

A map showing countries and territories where cases of the China virus have been confirmed as of 28 January, 2020. Picture: AFP

Another South African teacher, who left China for Cambodia’s capital city Phnom Penh last week, said the mood there had quickly changed since she arrived.

“Even the staff and securities are wearing masks. You can sense the uncertainty and fear. People keep a distance when they speak to you.”

WHO discussions also touched on further studies on the severity and transmissibility of the virus and that China should share biological material with the organisation.

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