Mongolia closes border with China as virus spreads

Mongolia has reportedly closed its border with China amid concerns over the spread of coronavirus, which has killed at least 81 people.

Mongolia joins North Korea in closing its Chinese border in response to the virus, The Associated Press reported, adding that neither country has reported any cases.

Mongolian schools, universities and playgrounds will be also closed until March 2, it added.

The developments come after Hong Kong and Malaysia barred visitors from the Chinese province, Hubei, believed to be the epicenter of the outbreak. Beijing has also suspended transportation in and out of Wuhan, the city whose wildlife market is believed to be the origin of most cases of the virus. Sixteen other cities with a collective population of more than 50 million people have since been locked down.

Cases have thus far been reported in Thailand, Taiwan, Japan, Vietnam, Singapore, Malaysia, Nepal, France, Canada, Australia, Macao and Hong Kong. Dr. Chuang Shuk-kwan, the head of Hong Kong’s communicable disease branch, has said that all the nation’s cases have ties to the province of Hubei and there is no indication of the risk of further spread. 

U.S. cases have been reported in Chicago, Southern California, Arizona and Washington state.

The Potala Palace in Tibet’s capital of Lhasa has also closed indefinitely to tourists, as have Hong Kong attractions Hong Kong Disneyland and Ocean Park, according to the AP.

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