23:44 GMT26 February 2020
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    MOSCOW (Sputnik) - Alibaba is the world's largest e-commerce platform which provides for all sorts of trade patterns among customers and businesses. Its founder Jack Ma has recently donated $14 million for research into developing an anti-coronavirus vaccine and earmarked a separate large fund for providing relief support to Hubei.

    Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba Group has explained possible delays that might affect the processing and shipment of orders placed after 20 January due to the government-ordered extension of Lunar New Year vacations, refraining from explicitly mentioning the coronavirus outbreak.

    "Due to the recently announced extension of Chinese New Year holiday and related regulations, some orders placed on AliExpress on or after Jan 20th are experiencing processing and shipping delays. It's up to a customer and seller to decide whether to agree on cancellation", Alibaba Group's representative said in a statement.

    The company evidently avoids citing the rampant coronavirus outbreak as a reason for disrupted operations.

    The epidemic of 2019-nCoV, also referred to sometimes as the Wuhan coronavirus after the central Chinese city where it presumably originated, began last December. Wuhan has since been quarantined alongside several other cities that China's authorities deem as hotbeds of infection.

    Last week, the Chinese government ordered the extension of the Lunar New Year holiday break in a bid to keep people at home and prevent mass gatherings. Business nationwide were ordered to stop operations for varying periods of time – in the Hubei province where Wuhan is located the shutdown will remain in effect up until 14 February.

    Meanwhile, 2019-nCoV has claimed the lives of 426 people and left 20,492 others infected.

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