23 February 2020,   17:59
The death toll from the Wuhan coronavirus has risen to 17

The death toll from the Wuhan coronavirus has risen to 17, as dozens more cases were reported across China and as far afield as the western US, sparking fears of a possible pandemic.

On Wednesday, the Chinese city of Wuhan - where the virus was first identified - said it would “temporarily” close its airport and railway stations for departing passengers. All public transport services will also be suspended, as authorities attempt to contain the virus.

The city lockdown begins at 10 am local time Thursday, according to an announcement from the city"s coronavirus command center.

Chinese health authorities said that at least 547 cases had been confirmed in the mainland, with eight new deaths linked to the virus in Hubei, the central Chinese province of which Wuhan is the capital. Cases were also confirmed in the Chinese territory of Macao and the self-governing island of Taiwan.