Story at a glance

  • The Chinese city of Wuhan is on lockdown.
  • The World Health Organization says the virus is more easily spread from person to person than previously thought.
  • The flu-like virus has killed 17 people and infected more than 620 people.

Beijing is scrapping major Chinese New Year events amid national efforts to control the spread of the deadly coronavirus outbreak.

CNN reports officials in Beijing have canceled a number of public New Year celebrations, which run this year from Jan. 25 to Feb. 8. 

“In order to control the epidemic, protect people’s lives and health, reduce the mass gathering and ensure people to have a harmonious and peaceful Spring Festival, it is decided to cancel all the large-scale events, including temple fairs, in Beijing as of today,” the Beijing Culture and Tourism Bureau said in a statement. 

The flu-like virus, which can be transmitted from person to person, has killed 17 people in China and infected more than 620 people. 

Wuhan, China, the city of 11 million people where the outbreak started in December, is under lockdown in an attempt to contain the outbreak, as well as several other nearby Chinese cities. 

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has raised its travel notice for Wuhan to the highest of three levels, according to its website.

“CDC recommends that travelers avoid all nonessential travel to Wuhan, China,” the CDC said in its announcement raising the status to “Warning - Level 3.” 

The CDC recommends travelers remain alert if traveling to other parts of China by avoiding contact with sick people, animals and animal markets. 

Meanwhile, the World Health Organization says the virus is more easily spread from person to person than previously thought. 

“We are now seeing second and third generation spread,” Dr. David Heymann, the chairman of a WHO committee gathering data on the virus, told CNN.

Third generation means that someone who was infected by the virus after handling animals at the Wuhan market spreads the virus to someone else, who then spreads it to a third person. Heymann says evidence is mounting that the virus could be spread by more distant contact.

Published on Jan 23, 2020