Coronavirus: Beijing to suspend domestic, overseas Chinese group tours: state media

EU to hold meeting on Monday to discuss outbreak

Beijing, Jan 25 (AFP) Chinse authorities have suspended both domestic and overseas group tours, state media reported Saturday, as it ramps up efforts to contain a new SARS-like virus that has infected nearly 1,300 people.

Starting Monday, all overseas Chines group tour services, including hotel and plane ticket bookings, from Chinese travel agencies will be suspended, according to state broadcaster CCTV.

Domestic tour groups were suspended from Friday, it said.

Beijing has also expanded travel restrictions, affecting the movement of 56 million people in more than a dozen cities, amid fears that the transmission rate will accelerate as hundreds of millions of Chinese travel for the Lunar New Year.

President Xi Warns Virus Is 'Accelerating', Country Facing 'Grave Situation': State Media
There are 1,372 confirmed cases of coronavirus in China as of 6 PM local time (10:00 GMT), the state broadcaster, CCTV, reported. The number of cases keep on increasing astronomically by the days.

At least 41 people have died in the country since the outbreak began.

European Health Commissioner Stella Kyriakides called a meeting of European Union state health representatives on Monday to discuss response options to the spread of the new coronavirus.

✔@SKyriakidesEU: We are following the developing situation of the #coronavirus very closely and have called for a meeting of the #EU Health Security Committee on Monday to discuss response options and preparedness needs of EU Member States.

"We stand ready to act and step up our response if needed," she tweeted, adding that the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) is "in the process of updating its risk assessment"


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