Beijing cancels New Year events over coronavirus fears

Large-scale events in have been cancelled as part of national efforts to control the spread of a new SARS-like virus, city authorities announced Thursday. The city government said it would events including temple fairs -- which have attracted massive crowds of tourists in past years -- "to strengthen prevention and support".

Beijing authorities have cancelled "large-scale" events, including New Year celebrations, in order to prevent the spread of a new coronavirus, state media reported on Thursday.

The "large-scale events" include traditional temple fairs, the state-run newspaper Evening News said on the Weibo messaging service.

Two more cities in 's Hubei province say they have imposed travel bans as a new virus that has infected hundreds of people continues to spread from the province's capital city of Wuhan.

Authorities are trying to prevent the potentially deadly virus from spreading further, as hundreds of thousands of people are planning to travel home for the Lunar New Year this weekend.

Seventeen people have died after contracting the virus, according to official figures. The Geneva-based World Health Organization is meeting to discuss whether to declare the outbreak a public health emergency.

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