KEY POINTS

  • Chinese government postponed Lunar New Year celebrations because of the Coronavirus 
  • Hong Kong is barring entry of citizens from the mainland
  • American and French citizens are being evacuated from Wuhan

China extended the Lunar New Year holiday to keep people at home as part of its containment efforts against a viral disease that has already killed 80 people.

 

In a statement, a spokesperson for the Hong Kong government said it was barring entry of mainland visitors because of the increasing spread of the virus.

 

Quarantine and containment efforts since January 22nd have been increasing as bus, train, and plane travel was suspended in central China, where the virus first occurred.

 

 More than fifty million people in seventeen cities are on lockdown as Chinese officials increase their containment efforts.

 

According to a statement by the cabinet, the end of China’s busiest travel season, the Lunar New Year holiday, was moved to Sunday from Thursday to reduce mass gatherings and stop the spread of the disease.

 

The cabinet said schools would not open until further notice.

 

American citizens and diplomats will be evacuated on Tuesday, according to the U.S. Consulate in Wuhan.

 

French citizens will be evacuated and quarantined in France, and the Japanese government will also evacuate their nationals.

 

Foreign employees plus their families will be moved to quarantined cities by the French company PSA Peugeot Citroen from their Wuhan factory.

 

China’s economic growth last year sank to a low of 6.1% and faces further disruption due to the virus outbreak. It may affect the surrounding Asian economies that are deeply reliant on china’s economy.

 

Chinese regulators said that industries that will be profoundly affected, particularly the hotelier, travel, and tourism sectors.

 

By Sunday, the National Health Commission stated 2,744 cases had been confirmed, with 24 deaths in Hubei province reported.

 

Cases have been reported and confirmed in South Korea, Thailand, Taiwan, the US, Singapore, Nepal, Australia, Canada, France and Japan.

 

The current outbreak has rekindled memories of the SARS outbreak in 2002 that took the lives of eight hundred people.

 

Chinese authorities have responded faster to this outbreak than they did during the SARS outbreak.

 

The National Health Commission insists that anyone coming from Wuhan has to register at a community station and stay at home for 14 days, which is the incubation time for the virus.

 

In downtown Wuhan areas, there is a ban on vehicle use as the city is going to provide six thousand taxis that the public can use.

 

Two hospitals with 1,500 and 1,000 bed capacity, respectively, are being constructed in Wuhan with the first nearing completion next week.

 

Extra-medical teams are also being sent to Wuhan while the military has deployed 450 medical staff to the area.

 

The Coronavirus virus causes cough and fever, shortness of breath and pneumonia in severe cases.

 

 The virus is believed to have come from wild animals sold in Wuhan markets, though there is a current ban on trading in wild animals.