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China Locks Down 10 Cities, Of 33 Million People, As Coronavirus Fears Grow

As fears mount over the coronavirus spreading, China expands its lockdown to 10 cities, with a combined population of 33 million people.

The virus has killed 26 people and infected hundreds, prompting unprecedented lockdowns before the country's most important holiday -- Chinese New Year.

China has shut transport in at least 10 cities including Wuhan, where the virus originated, and nine neighbouring cities in China's Hubei province.

Following the lockdown, Chinese authorities announced they were also building hospitals to treat the rising number of patients.

Citizens wear masks to defend against new viruses in Guangzhou, China. Image: Getty

The Wuhan government said Friday it was building a designated hospital with space for 1,000 beds in the style of a facility that Beijing constructed during the SARS epidemic.

As well as transport being closed, popular tourist destinations Beijing's Forbidden City and Shanghai Disneyland will shut their doors on Saturday.

The number of confirmed cases of the new coronavirus has risen to 830, the National Health Commission said.

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More People Quarantined In Australia Over Coronavirus Fears

Several people have been quarantined and are undergoing testing over fears they have contracted the deadly and highly contagious coronavirus.

Initial symptoms of the virus can mirror those of the cold and flu, including cough, fever, chest tightening and shortness of breath, but can worsen to pneumonia.

In Australian airports screening is taking place for passengers who've flown from Wuhan and may have contracted the illness.

Four people were quarantined for the highly contagious virus on Friday, two in Queensland and two in NSW.

Two further people were quarantined in NSW, it was announced on Friday morning, but by Friday afternoon they had been released.

With AAP