A man wears a mask while walking in the street on January 22, 2020 in Wuhan, Hubei province, China.
Government officials in Wuhan, China are suspending all public transportation, including buses, trains, airplanes and ferries, to better combat the coronavirus outbreak, Reuters reported Wednesday, citing Chinese state media.
Officials are also asking citizens not to leave the city unless there are special circumstances, according to Reuters.
The action came after public health officials said earlier in the day that deaths from China’s new virus, which is believed to have started in Wuhan, rose to 17 with more than 540 cases confirmed.
Fears that the coronavirus could disrupt travel and commerce, and slow economic growth , hitting Asian stocks hard, depressing copper and oil prices, and sending investors into safe havens, like U.S. Treasurys and German bunds.
Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses that usually infect animals but can sometimes evolve and spread to humans. Symptoms in humans include fever, coughing, and shortness of breath, which can progress to pneumonia.
Chinese authorities say many of the patients with the new illness had come into contact with seafood markets, suggesting the virus is spreading from animals to people. However, health officials say some “limited human-to-human transmission” occurred between close contacts.