Major Chinese cities, including Beijing, have banned all large gatherings as the Lunar New Year festival approaches.
Despite the importance of the Lunar New Year on the Chinese calendar, the decision was made in an effort to contain the rapidly spreading outbreak. Chinese authorities also extended travel restrictions imposed on Wuhan to the surrounding cities, shutting down travel networks. They are attempting to quarantine 25 million people.
Coronavirus is a type of virus that affects the respiratory tract. They are usually associated with the common cold, pneumonia, and severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS). The virus is typically spread in the same way cold-causing viruses do, through infected people coughing and sneezing, by touching an infected person, or by touching things.
The outbreak was first detected in Wuhan, China at a food market selling exotic animals for consumption. It has already killed 17 people in Wuhan and the surrounding Hubei province. Currently, 638 people in China are infected.
Since the outbreak was reported, Chinese territories of Hong Kong and Macao have both reported cases of coronavirus, as well as countries including the United States, Japan, South Korea and Thailand.
The National Institute of Health is currently working on creating a vaccine for the new virus, but it is not expected to be ready anytime soon.
The World Health Organization is advising people to avoid close contact with anyone showing symptoms of respiratory illness, such as coughing and sneezing. Health officials are also warning people to thoroughly cook meat and eggs. Other symptoms of the virus include fever and shortness of breath.