BEIJING: In order to prevent the transmission of coronavirus, China has suspended all public transports, including flights in and out of Wuhan, the epicentre of the virus. There are 571 confirmed cases in the city with the death toll rising to 17 so far in the Chinese mainland.

China's Health Commission which is periodically updating the steps being taken to deal with the virus said on Thursday morning that the majority of these cases are from Wuhan and surrounding areas. Seven new cases of Wuhan Coronavirus had been confirmed in Shanghai.

The World Health Organization (WHO) which held an emergency meeting on Wednesday in Vienna to deal with the global impact of the virus has extended the talks till Thursday to decide on whether the outbreak in China constitutes a Public Health Emergency of International Concern (PHEIC), like Ebola and Swine flu.

With Chinese New Year and Spring Festival holidays starting from January 24, the country is taking all possible measures to prevent the spread of the virus. The festival triggers biggest mass migration, clogging road, rail and air networks every year.

Authorities have given out a set of preventive measures to be followed: Residents are asked to wear masks when outside, authorities have intensified supervision of open-air markets, minimizing public activities such as conferences, tours and visits, and large gatherings are banned.

Gao Fu, head of the Chinese Centre for Disease Control and Prevention, said there is no evidence so far showing that a super-spreader, or a highly contagious virus, has emerged. He added that, based on current evidence, the virus originated from wild animals sold at a seafood market in Wuhan.

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