BEIJING (AP) — China today expanded its sweeping efforts to contain a deadly virus, extending the Lunar New Year holiday to keep the public at home and avoid spreading infection as the death toll rose to 81.
Mongolia closed its vast border with China, and Hong Kong and Malaysia announced they would bar entry to visitors from the Chinese province at the center of the outbreak following a warning by medical officials that the virus’s ability to spread was growing. Travel agencies were ordered to cancel group tours nationwide, adding to the rising economic losses.
Stock markets around the world were down sharply today as the lockdown in Chinese cities was expected to stifle travel, shopping and business for millions of people. Though markets in much of Asia, including China, were closed for the Lunar New Year, they slumped more than 2% in Japan and across Europe. Wall Street was expected to drop on the open and the international price of oil was down a sharp 4%.