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News Wrap: China closes off city of Wuhan to try to contain coronavirus outbreak

In our news wrap Thursday, China closed off Wuhan, a city of 11 million people, in an unprecedented effort to contain a deadly coronavirus. Officials announced two other cities will be shuttered Friday, as infected patients are hospitalized in isolation wards. Also, the International Court of Justice unanimously ordered the government of Myanmar to protect Rohingya Muslims from acts of genocide.

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  • Judy Woodruff:

    In the day's other news: China closed off Wuhan, a city of 11 million people, in an unprecedented effort to contain a deadly virus. Officials also announced that two other cities are being closed tomorrow. Train stations in Wuhan were unusually calm and the streets were empty.

    Medical staff said that they are taking extreme precautions to avoid spreading the infection from isolation wards.

  • Wang Jun (through translator):

    We need to remove the protective suits layer by layer. Hand disinfection is actually required before we remove each layer.

    After that, we would come outside to remove the shoe covers, the cap and the mask, disinfect our hands again, and come here to wash our hands. Then, we have to get changed into our own clothes to walk into the hygienic area.

  • Judy Woodruff:

    The death toll from the virus is now at 18, with more than 600 infections.

    The International Court of Justice ordered the government of Myanmar today to protect Rohingya Muslims from acts of genocide. The unanimous action came despite Myanmar's denial that its military carried out a brutal campaign of ethnic cleansing.

    Rohingya leaders hailed the ruling at The Hague in the Netherlands.

  • Tun Khin:

    I feel that this is a very, very strong and milestone and historic result for our community.

    As a Rohingya myself, we — as I grew up in Rakhine State, we have seen that, so many decades, Rohingya been facing genocide, intentionally destroying our community. So, today, this result give us a kind of much encouragement for our community.

  • Judy Woodruff:

    The court could take years to rule on whether Myanmar already committed mass killings, arson and rape against the Rohingya. More than 700,000 have fled the former Burma to neighboring Bangladesh.

    Israel today marked the 75th anniversary of the liberation of the Nazi death camp Auschwitz. The event in Jerusalem featured world leaders, including Russia's President Vladimir Putin and U.S. Vice President Mike Pence. Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu warned that anti-Semitism remains a force and that Iran is the worst culprit.

    Netanyahu and his main political rival, Benny Gantz, accepted invitations today to travel to Washington. They will meet with President Trump to discuss peace with the Palestinians. The president said late today that he may release his peace plan before that meeting on Tuesday.

    In Australia, an air tanker fighting wildfires in crashed today, killing all three American crew members on board. An Oregon company had sent the plane to help in the fire effort.

    Authorities in New South Wales said the accident underscores the risks that fire crews are taking on the ground and in the air.

  • Gladys Berejiklian:

    Today is a stark and horrible reminder of the dangerous conditions that our volunteers, our emergency services personnel across a number of agencies undertake on a daily basis. And, again, it allows us to consider just the circumstances people are facing every day.

  • Judy Woodruff:

    The fatalities in the crash bring the overall death toll from the wildfires to at least 32.

    Back in this country, the Trump administration lifted federal protections for many of the nation's waterways. The changes affect which ones qualify for protection under the 1972 Clean Water Act. The administration said it's about easing burdens on farmers and businesses.

    Environmental groups warned that it means more pollution.

    Also today, the State Department proposed new curbs on so-called birth tourism. Women will be denied visas if they travel to the U.S. mainly to give birth, giving the child automatic American citizenship. Instead, they will have to show legitimate medical reasons to visit.

    Harvey Weinstein's accusers began testifying today at his rape and sexual assault trial. Actress Annabella Sciorra told jurors that the former movie producer overpowered her and raped her in her apartment more than 25 years ago. Sciorra is one of six accusers who are being called as witnesses.

    The U.S. surgeon general has issued a new report on smoking, the first in 30 years on getting people to quit. It finds nearly 40 percent of smokers are not advised by their doctors to quit. Cigarette smoking remains the leading cause of preventable death in the U.S.

    And on Wall Street, the Dow Jones industrial average lost 26 points to close at 29160. The Nasdaq rose 18 points, and the S&P 500 slipped three.

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