The Chinese capital Beijing cancels major events during the Chinese New Year due to the contagious coronavirus. The city council announced this on Thursday.
The festivities attract many tourists every year. The Chinese New Year will be celebrated this weekend.
At least seventeen people died of the virus in China. The number of people infected has risen to 571. The virus has also been diagnosed in some other Asian countries.
The Chinese city of Wuhan, about 1000 kilometres south of Beijing, is considered the epicentre of the virus outbreak. That city is virtually isolated from the outside world.
The same applies from Thursday to the Chinese town of Huanggang, 40 kilometres east of Wuhan. Outgoing traffic and public transport have been stopped there.
Around 7 million people live in Huanggang. The authorities in the cities of Ezhou and Chibi, also in the Wuhan area, announced on Thursday that the public transport system was largely down.
The UN World Health Organization (WHO) is Thursday considering the virus and decides whether it should be seen as an international emergency. The new coronavirus is related to the SARS virus.
In the years 2002 and 2003, that virus caused a lot of unrest. Nearly eight hundred people died at the time.