Coronavirus death toll rises to 56, nearly 2000 infected


China on Sunday expanded drastic travel restrictions to contain the spread of a new coronavirus that President Xi Jinping said posed a "grave" threat, as the death toll reached 56 and Shanghai reported its first fatality.

China confirmed 1,975 cases of patients infected with the new coronavirus as of January 25, state broadcaster CCTV reported. More than 2,000 people across the world have now been infected.

The virus, believed to have originated late last year in a seafood market in the central Chinese city of Wuhan that was illegally selling wildlife, has spread to Chinese cities including Beijing and Shanghai, and to other countries including Singapore, Thailand, Japan, France, the United States and Canada.

In a worrying sign for containment efforts, Shanghai on Sunday reported its first death from the virus - an 88-year-old man with pre-existing health problems.

China has sealed off Wuhan and other cities in hard-hit Hubei province - affecting tens of millions of people - and is now expanding restrictions to other parts of the country. It also scaled back traditional celebrations for the Lunar New Year, closing major tourist attractions.

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