Authorities in China have reportedly issued an order to extend public holidays in an attempt to curb the coronavirus outbreak that has claimed the lives of 80 people and infected almost 2,700 people in different parts of the world. According to reports, a group headed by Premier Li Keqiang to tackle the epidemic took the decision on January 26 to extend the Spring Festival Holiday that was to end on January 30.
According to reports, the meeting headed by Keqiang stressed on the fact that China is at a very crucial stage in terms of preventing and controlling the viral outbreak. The meeting urged party committees and governments at all levels that to take structured and necessary steps to prevent the coronavirus from spreading. Originating in the city of Wuhan, the virus spread across China and the world, with cases confirmed in several countries such as Japan, United States, Vietnam etc.
Wuhan, the capital of Hubei province and epicentre of the coronavirus outbreak, suspended visa and passport services for Chinese citizens until January 30 in order to strengthen control over the virus outbreak, the city’s exit-entry bureau said in a statement on January 27. Chinese President Xi Jinping on January 26 has called the outbreak a ‘grave situation’ after officials across China failed to contain the deadly viral infection. Though the World Health Organization (WHO) has not yet classified the virus as an international emergency considering the low number of overseas cases, however, WHO director-general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus has called it 'an emergency in China'.
According to reports, the coronavirus originated from seafood and animal market located in Wuhan. The viral outbreak has caused concern because of its similarity to Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) which claimed the lives of almost 650 people across China and Hong Kong in the year 2002-2003.
The novel coronavirus is a new strain in the large family of coronaviruses (CoV) which was previously not identified in humans. CoV causes illness ranging from the common cold to more severe diseases such as Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS-CoV) and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS-CoV).