By  on January 23, 2020

SHANGHAI — China on Friday expanded a public travel ban — including flights, trains and buses — in and out of at least eight cities in an attempt to contain the spread of the deadly coronavirus, right as the country officially takes off a week for the Lunar New Year, the country’s most important festive occasion and a key shopping season.

Chinese officials have confirmed 25 deaths from the virus and 830 cases, casting a shadow over the holiday. In place of a celebratory mood across the nation, traditionally marked by family and friends gathering to dine and swap cash and gifts, officials have urged the public to stay away from crowded places, advocated for increased disinfecting and hygiene measures, and canceled a number of public celebrations. National institutions like the Palace Museum, which houses Beijing’s Forbidden City, have closed for the holiday, issuing refunds for tickets.

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