By Theresa Machemer/Smithsonianmag.com
On January 24, authorities in China announced the closing of various tourist sites, including a high-traffic section of the Great Wall, the Forbidden City in Bejing and Shanghai Disney Resort. The decision is an effort to limit the spread of the so-called Wuhan coronavirus, Channel News Asia reports.
Public transportation has been stopped in 18 cities in Hubei province, and travel has stopped entirely out of Wuhan, the province’s capital and biggest city, per Asia Times. The disease—also called the 2019 novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV)—was first discovered in the city in December and originally linked to a wet market. However, a new study on the first 41 cases of the disease gives evidence that the virus may have jumped to humans days or weeks before the market, reports Jon Cohen at Science magazine.
The virus spreads through airborne droplets released when an infected person coughs or sneezes, so large crowds would pose a risk. Crowds are especially common this time of year when people are traveling to see family and celebrate the Lunar New Year.
The Forbidden City is normally packed with tourists during the Lunar New Year festival, per CNA, and Shanghai Disneyland sold out last year, selling around 100,000 tickets…