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Coronavirus update: What’s new in the evolving outbreak

  • NPR
Staff move bio-waste containers past the entrance of the Wuhan Medical Treatment Center, where some infected with a new virus are being treated, in Wuhan, China.  (AP Photo/Dake Kang)

Staff move bio-waste containers past the entrance of the Wuhan Medical Treatment Center, where some infected with a new virus are being treated, in Wuhan, China. (AP Photo/Dake Kang)

(Wuhan, China) —  Saturday’s Lunar New Year celebrations were dampened in China by fears over the coronavirus outbreak and travel restrictions affecting 46 million people.

On the first day of the Lunar New Year, China’s President Xi Jinping stressed the urgency of controlling the outbreak — which has seen hundreds more confirmed cases since Friday — and urged state authorities to prioritize containment efforts.

Chinese state media report that Xi called the outbreak a “grave situation” at a meeting of the Communist Party of China’s Central Committee. He said it was a priority for the government, the Communist Party and the country to contain the situation and urged the public to follow the government’s lead to help control the spread of the virus, according to state media.

More than 1,300 cases have been confirmed worldwide from the outbreak, and 54 people have died, including a 62-year-old doctor at a Wuhan hospital who contracted the virus from a patient, state media reports.

Officials in China’s Hubei province confirmed 323 new cases on Saturday.

Infections from the virus have now been found on four continents, including a few cases in Australia, France and the U.S., among travelers who had recently been in China. Several other countries in Asia have reported cases as well.

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