China to extend Lunar New Year holidays as it struggles to contain deadly virus

Beijing has extended Chinese New Year holidays for four days to February 2, a state broadcaster has announced. The holidays were previously expected to end on January 30. Chinese schools will also prolong their holidays for an unspecified period of time, as the exact dates are yet to be announced by the ministry of education.

The moves come as Beijing tries to contain an outbreak of a novel coronavirus that already infected more than 2,000 in China alone, and claimed lives of 56 people. The city of Wuhan — the epicenter of the outbreak, and nine other major cities in the Hubei province were partially quarantined. National Health Commission Minister Ma Xiaowei, meanwhile, said that the holiday vacation provides the best opportunity for  "isolation and disinfection" of the area.