The Guardian
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G7 countries to discuss joint response to coronavirus crisis


G7 countries will discuss a joint response to the coronavirus epidemic, Germany's health minister said on Sunday.

Jens Spahn said he had talked on the phone with his US counterpart and "we agreed that there should be a conference call, a discussion by G7 health ministers about this question with the aim of dealing with it together".

Spahn added: "There is no point in each country deciding on measures alone".

The Group of Seven (G7) comprises Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the United Kingdom, and the United States.

China imposed a lockdown Sunday on a major city far from the epicentre of the coronavirus epidemic, as its death toll from the disease soared to 304 and the first fatality outside the country was reported in the Philippines.

Prof. Dr. Maria Vehresschild, the head of infectiology at the Frankfurt Goethe University hospital speaks at a press conference on the coronavirus in Frankfurt am Main, western Germany on February 2, 2020. - Two of the passengers brought back from the Chinese city of Wuhan, the epicentre of the coronavirus outbreak, found to have the the virus are being treated at the Goethe University hospital in Frankfurt am Main. (Photo by Thomas Lohnes / AFP)

Since emerging out of Wuhan late last year, the coronavirus has infected nearly 14,500 people across China and reached 24 countries.

The United States, Australia, New Zealand, and Israel have banned foreign nationals from visiting if they have been in China recently, and they have also warned their own citizens against travelling there.

Mongolia, Russia, and Nepal have closed their land borders.

The number of countries reporting infections rose to 24 after Britain, Russia and Sweden confirmed their first cases this weekend.

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