Travellers, wearing protective face masks amid fears about the spread of the COVID-19, wait at the departure hall of Changi International Airport on Thursday. AFP
Qianjiang, a city of around one million people located about 150km from the stricken provincial capital of Wuhan, has reported a total of 197 cases so far and is stepping up efforts to ensure its infected people are confined and treated.
Residents wear masks as a preventive measure against the COVID-19 as they shop for fruit and vegetables in a busy market in Beijing. AFP
It is the latest of a number of regions to offer cash rewards to encourage members of the public to volunteer for medical checks.
Hubei has reported over 65,000 cases and more than 2,600 deaths from the epidemic. Worldwide, the death toll is about 2,800 and about 80,000 have been infected.
The Qianjiang task force handling the epidemic said in a notice that residents would be entitled to the full 10,000 yuan payment if their coronavirus diagnosis is confirmed. Those who have previously been diagnosed will not be eligible.
Residents stand a metre apart as a preventive measure against the COVID-19 as they they line up to enter a supermarket in Beijing. AFP
Those who are not immediately ruled out as suffering from the disease will be given 1,000 yuan, while those declared to be "suspected" cases will earn 2,000 yuan, it said.
Other parts of Hubei, including the Wuhan district of Hanyang and the neighbouring city of Huangguang, have also offered cash rewards for people volunteering for medical checks, but at a much lower rate of around 500 yuan.
Media in the provinces of Jiangxi and Hebei have also reported local cities offering handouts of around 300-500 yuan.
China has previously made it clear that people showing signs of infection would be able to get checked free of charge, and has also made funds available to local governments to ensure there are no financial disincentives preventing people from coming forward.
Anger has been building up against the authorities in China over their early handling of the coronavirus outbreak, which has killed more than 3,300 people globally, most of them in China. The Fujian provincial government said that as of Friday, the province had 296 cases of coronavirus and 10,819 people had been placed under observation after being classified as suspected close contacts.
India has also closed a border with neighbouring Myanmar to counter the coronavirus outbreak, as countries across South Asia reported a rise in cases on Wednesday. No cases have so far been confirmed in Myanmar.
Coronavirus concerns led Saudi Arabia to cut off air and sea travel with Bahrain, Egypt, Iraq, Italy, Kuwait, Lebanon, South Korea, Syria and the United Arab Emirates. The kingdom had earlier closed off its land borders as well.
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