China faced increasing international isolation last night as it battled a virus President Xi described as a “devil”

China faced increasing international isolation last night as it battled a virus President Xi described as a “devil”.

Neighbouring countries have imposed border restrictions and the US has urged its citizens to avoid travel to the country. Mr Xi met the head of the World Health Organisation to discuss countermeasures to contain the pneumonic coronavirus as Japan and Germany confirmed two cases in people who had not travelled to China, raising concerns that human-to-human transmission was beginning to take place internationally.

The project was complete within 48 hours thanks to the joint effort of staff from construction firms, utility companies and paramilitary police officers, the city’s authority said.

The hospital building in the city’s Huangzhou District was originally built as a new branch of Huanggang Central Hospital and expected to open in May.

The number of confirmed cases rose to a total of 5,974 – overtaking the 5,327 confirmed cases in mainland China during the severe acute respiratory syndrome (Sars) epidemic. The Sars outbreak killed more than 770 people globally, including 349 in mainland China.

Officials in the US, meanwhile, said a chartered plane had left Wuhan earlier on Wednesday with about 200 US citizens onboard, including staff from the local US consulate.

The UK is finalising plans to evacuate hundreds of Britons from the province, with a deadline for those who want to leave to contact the UK consulate passing at 3am GMT (11am local time) on Wednesday.

Foreign secretary Dominic Raab said government officials were “working urgently to finalise arrangements for an assisted departure from Hubei province for British nationals this week, and are in contact with people in Hubei to ensure they register their interest and that we can keep them updated”.

“How do they have time to eat and play too,” one said.

Another added: ‘My kids wouldn’t eat all that in a week.’