Businesses In China Shut As Coronavirus Death Toll Rises To 81

According to hospital sources, the suspected patients were residents of the Chinese city of Wuhan, the epicentre of the outbreak, and had recently arrived in Lahore.

World shares fell to their lowest in two weeks on Monday on virus concerns, with demand spiking for safe-haven assets such as Japanese yen and Treasury notes.

Its spread has come amid China's busiest travel period of the year when millions crisscross the country or head overseas for the Lunar New Year holiday. The tourism sector in Singapore, Thailand, and Hong Kong are the most vulnerable.

At a press briefing in Beijing on Sunday, the head of China's disease control agency, Gao Fu, said it was "not as powerful as SARS", but officials warned its ability to spread could be getting stronger.

China has cut transportation in several cities in Hubei province and is requiring some travelers to quarantine themselves.

A few cases linked to people who travelled from Wuhan have been confirmed in a dozen countries, from Japan to the United States, where authorities said they had 110 people under investigation in 26 states.

Also on Sunday, Wuhan banned most vehicles, including private cars, from downtown areas.

The comments are a rare instance of public anger outpacing the army of online censors in China, where criticism of government figures is usually scrubbed.

Zhou, in an interview with state broadcaster CCTV, said he and the local Party secretary Ma Guoqing "will bear any responsibility", while admitting that the city had been "unsatisfactory" in disclosing information about the outbreak.

Leung said the lockdowns implemented by China were "absolutely correct", although he said the measures "may not be able to substantially change the course of this epidemic in the other major city clusters".

New Year holidays in China were extended until February 2, and school holidays were extended until February 17, in the hope that this would slow the spread of the virus.

Hundreds of US-bound migrants stopped from entering Mexico
Authorities detained 402 of the migrants and moved them to immigration shelters where they could face removal by air to Honduras. Over the weekend, authorities officers satisfied about 1,000 individuals they need to enter legally over the border bridge.

Investors are anxious about the impact on travel, tourism and broader economic activity.

During the 2002-2003 outbreak of Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS), which originated in China and killed almost 800 people globally, air passenger demand in Asia plunged 45%.

Authorities have since temporarily banned the sale of all wildlife in China. Much is not known, including how easily it spreads and just how deadly it is.

The Communist government made a decision to extend the holiday, initially due to end on January 30, for three days to limit population flows and control the epidemic.

The World Health Organization (WHO) estimated an incubation period of two to 10 days.

Last week WHO stopped short of declaring the outbreak a global health emergency, although some health experts question whether China can contain the epidemic.

With more than a dozen countries now reporting cases of the virus, along with nearly every region of China, the ability to rein in the pathogen's spread may be somewhat out of the hands of the Chinese government.

Outside mainland China, at least 13 other places have reported cases of the virus, including France, Australia, and the United States.

The US, France and Japan are among countries looking to evacuate their citizens from Wuhan.

Footage posted on Chinese social media shows hospital corridors packed with patients lining up for treatment.

The world body on Monday said the global risk from the deadly virus in China was "high", admitting an error in its previous reports that said it was "moderate".

  • Sonia Alvarado