Beijing Confirms Cancellation of Chinese New Year Celebrations Amid Coronavirus Outbreak

© AP Photo / Andy WongVisitors tour the Forbidden City decorated with red lanterns and illuminated with lights during the Lantern Festival in Beijing, Tuesday, Feb. 19, 2019.
Visitors tour the Forbidden City decorated with red lanterns and illuminated with lights during the Lantern Festival in Beijing, Tuesday, Feb. 19, 2019.  - Sputnik International
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According to recent data, more than 600 cases of the disease have been confirmed in 25 Chinese provinces, and 17 people have died as a result of the so-called Novel Coronavirus that was first detected in Wuhan in late December.

The Chinese capital of Beijing has decided to cancel all mass celebrations, including traditional temple festivals, in the wake of the new coronavirus outbreak, the city's government said on Thursday.

"Starting today, all major events, including temple fairs, are cancelled," the government said in a statement.

At the same time, the administration of the Forbidden City - a complex that houses the Palace museum in central Beijing, has stated that it will be closed starting today.

"In line with the current efforts to contain the outbreak of a new coronavirus pneumonia, in order to avoid cross-infection, the Palace Museum will be closed until further notice from 25 January 2020 (first day of the Lunar New Year)," the administration said in a statement.

In late December, an outbreak of previously unknown pneumonia, later identified as a new strain of coronavirus, was registered in the Chinese city of Wuhan that is currently on lockdown due to fears of the virus turning into an epidemic.

Earlier in the day, the authorities in Huanggang, a city that is close to Wuhan and home to more than seven million people, suspended planes and trains in and out of the city

Travelers wear face masks as they sit in a waiting room at the Beijing West Railway Station in Beijing, Tuesday, Jan. 21, 2020 - Sputnik International
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Chinese authorities have confirmed that the virus can be transmitted from human to human, and cases of infection have already been registered in Hong Kong, Taiwan, Thailand, Japan, South Korea, the United States, and Macau with a recent one emerging in Singapore.

Patients demonstrating signs of the virus have experienced such symptons as fever and difficulty breathing. Chest radiographs of those infected show invasive lesions on their lungs.

So far, Chinese authorities have confirmed 633 cases of the virus. Some 95 patients are in critical condition, while 17 people have already died due to the virus. 

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