China and countries around the world are scrambling to contain the spread of a new coronavirus that has killed at least 106 people and infected more than 4,500.

Germany has reported its first case of the virus, as the United States and Canada upgraded travel warnings to advise their citizens to avoid all non-essential travel to China.

More than 56 million people in almost 20 Chinese cities – including Wuhan, the capital of Hubei Province where the virus originated – have been prevented from travelling in an attempt to curb the spread of the virus during the Lunar New Year or Spring Festival, traditionally China’s busiest travel season. 


The director-general of the World Health Organization (WHO) is currently in China.

The agency has acknowledged the respiratory illness is an emergency in China but said last week it was too early to declare the outbreak a public health emergency of international concern. It has described the global risk from the virus as high. 

Here are the latest updates:

Tuesday, January 28

Asian markets fall on coronavirus worries

Stockmarkets in Asia continued to fall on Tuesday, dragged down by worries about an outbreak of a new virus in China that could curb economic growth.

Chinese markets were closed for the Lunar New Year holidays. as stocks in Japan, Australia and South Korea dropped.

“While the step-up in remedial and preventive measures to curb and contain, as well as transparency, have vastly improved from SARS, fears of a global contagion are not put to bed,” said Vishnu Varathan at Mizuho Bank in Singapore.

SARS began in China in 2002, before spreading around the world over the following year, leaving some 800 people dead.

Read more on how the coronavirus is affecting markets here and the potential consequences for the Hong Kong economy here.

Philippines suspends visa-on-arrival for China tourists

The Philippines Bureau of Immigration said on Tuesday it would temporarily stop issuing visas on arrival for tourists from mainland China.

“We are taking this proactive measure to slow down travel, and possibly help prevent the entry of the 2019-nCov,” Jaime Morente, the bureau’s commissioner said in a statement.

Facebook asks employees to put off non-essential travel to China

Facebook has asked employees to suspend non-essential travel to mainland China to prevent the spread of the coronavirus, a spokesman said on Tuesday.

The company also told employees who had travelled to China to work from home.

“Out of an abundance of caution, we have taken steps to protect the health and safety of our employees,” a company spokesman told Reuters.

China virus death toll jumps to 106, nearly 1,300 new cases

The death toll in China from the coronavirus outbreak has soared to 106 while nearly 1,300 new cases have been confirmed, authorities said on Tuesday.

The health commission in central Hubei province, the epicentre of the epidemic, said 24 more people had died from the virus and 1,291 more people were infected, raising the total number of confirmed cases to more than 4,000 nationwide.

Germany reports first case of coronavirus

Germany has reported its first case of the deadly coronavirus – in the southern region of Bavaria, the Bavarian health ministry said on Monday.

China outbreak

Paramilitary police at Tiananmen Gate in Beijing on Monday [Mark Schiefelbein/AP Photo]

“A man in the Starnberg region has been infected with the new coronavirus,” a spokesman for the ministry said, adding that he is under surveillance in an isolation ward. 

The ministry gave no further details on how the patient came to be infected but said he was in a “medically good state”.

US tells citizens to avoid all non-essential travel to China, as it prepares evacuation

The United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) on Monday raised its advice to US travellers to avoid all non-essential travel to China, as a result of the coronavirus.

The CDC alert is now at the highest level – Warning.

It advised anyone who did have to travel to the country to avoid sick people, keep away from food markets and animals, and to wash their hands thoroughly and frequently. Older people and those with underlying health issues were more at risk, it added. 

Coronavirus timeline

China’s Beijing suspends most bus services to neighbouring Hebei

China’s Beijing Public Transport Group said it will suspend the majority of bus services into neighbouring Hebei province from Tuesday to contain the spread of coronavirus, according to a statement on its official Weibo account.

China’s Tangshan city suspends public transit to prevent spread of coronavirus

Tangshan, China’s largest steelmaking city in northern Hebei province, announced on Tuesday morning that it was suspending all public transport within the city in an effort to prevent the further spread of the new coronavirus.

South Korea ‘all out’ to contain virus outbreak

South Korea on Tuesday said it was going “all out” to contain the outbreak of the spreading coronavirus as it confirmed its fourth case of the infection.

“The government will be all out to protect citizens and minimise its impact on the economy,” Finance Minister Hong Nam-ki said in a policy meeting in Seoul.

Hong said the government will fund efforts to contain the virus using the emergency fund from the existing budget, including 20.8 billion won ($17.8m) set aside for anti-epidemic measures.


Canada says to ‘avoid all travel’ to Hubei Province, citing travel restrictions

Canada has told its citizens to “avoid all travel” to China’s Hubei province, as a second person – the wife of the man who was first found to have the coronavirus – was diagnosed with the infection.

Read updates from Monday, January 27 here.

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