Coronavirus Updates: More Cities Extend Holiday, HK Trains Shut

The novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) first came to the attention of the World Health Organization on December 31, 2019, after a number of suspected pneumonia cases were reported in Wuhan, the capital of Hubei province. One week later, the mystery illness was confirmed to be a new strain of coronavirus, the same family of diseases as severe accute respiratory syndrome (SARS) and Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS). 

Wuhan, a city of over 10 million people, went into lockdown on January 23, in order to curb the spread of the virus. It was also announced that the Chinese New Year holiday will be extended in order to contain the spread of the respiratory disease. 

The death toll from the coronavirus now stands at 132, with nearly 6,000 confirmed cases reported. 

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Here are the latest coronavirus updates from around China over the past 24 hours:

UPDATE (January 29, 2020 8.18am CST): Authorities in Guangdong have announced that work in the province will resume on February 10, according to an official statement by the provincial government, as cited by Guangzhou Bendibao.

UPDATE (January 28, 2020 7.17pm CST): On Tuesday, President Xi Jinping met with Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, director general of the World Health Organization (WHO) in Beijing, China Daily reports. According to Chinas foreign ministry, the WHO chief is confident in Chinas ability to contain a new coronavirus that has killed 106 people and that he did not think foreigners should be evacuated, as cited by Reuters.

UPDATE (January 28, 2020 6.35pm CST): According to local reports, Beijings Xiaotangshan Hospital, which was originally built in 2003 to combat the SARS epidemic, is being rebuilt. The news comes as officials are currently building two emergency hospitals, Huoshenshan and Leishenshan, to combat the illness in Wuhan. 

UPDATE (January 28, 2020 5.31pm CST): Hong Kongs chief executive, Carrie Lam, announced on Tuesday that high-speed rail travel between the special administrative region and the Chinese mainland will be suspended from midnight Thursday to combat the novel coronavirus, according to Reuters. Speaking at a press conference, Lam additionally stated that flights to cities on the Chinese mainland will be reduced by half and cross-border ferry services will be temporarily shuttered. Checkpoints at Wenjindu and Shatoujiao will also be closed. 

Image via Wikimedia

Chief Executive Lam also said that personal travel permits allowing citizens of the Chinese mainland to visit Hong Kong will be suspended.  

UPDATE (January 28, 2020 4.35pm CST): The Chinese government has recommended that the countrys citizens postpone overseas trips in order to curb the spread of the coronavirus, according to CGTN. There are around 50 confirmed cases of the respiratory disease spread across Asia, North America, Europe and Oceania. The exit and entry departments in Hubei province have thus far halted passport applications and exit and entry permits for Taiwan, Hong Kong and Macao. 

UPDATE (January 28, 2020 12.45pm CST): One of the first big music tours to be canceled was announced by Modern Sky on Tuesday, as Japanese band Suchmos national tour was postponed. The promoter is working on rescheduling the tour, but fans can get refunds for their tickets from February 3-21 (depending on ticketing agency). 

UPDATE (January 28, 2020 12.40pm CST): The US raised its travel advisory for China to its second highest level, reconsider travel. Amid the growing number of international outbreaks, the advisory level was raised from exercise increased caution this morning. The travel advisory level for Hubei province remains do not travel.

UPDATE (January 28, 2020 12.35pm CST): Beijing's intercity ridesharing, taxi hailing and designated driving Didi service has been suspended as of January 26, until further public notification by local authorities. 

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