(Reuters) - The coronavirus outbreak that began in the central Chinese city of Wuhan has killed 56 people in China and infected more than 2,000 globally, most of them in China.
The virus has caused alarm because it is still too early to know how dangerous it is and how easily it spreads between people. And because it is new, humans have not been able to build any immunity to it.
Here is what we know so far:
* As of midnight in Beijing (1600 GMT) on Jan. 25, the deathtoll in China had risen to 56, authorities reported. Some 1,975people in China had been infected with the virus. * The coronavirus transmission ability is getting strongerand infections could continue to rise, China's National HealthCommission said. * China bans wildlife trade nationwide in markets,supermarkets, restaurants, and e-commerce platforms, authoritiessaid. * The previously unknown coronavirus strain is believed tohave emerged late last year from illegally traded wildlife at ananimal market in Wuhan. * Thailand has reported five cases; Australia and Singaporehave reported four; the United States, France, Japan, Taiwan andMalaysia three; Vietnam and South Korea two apiece; and Canadaand Nepal one. * Beijing will delay reopening the city's kindergartens,schools and universities, state-owned China National Radio (CNR)said on its official Weibo page. * Taiwan further tightens restrictions on visitors fromChina, suspending entry for many apart from business travellersand a few other exceptions. * Hong Kong's popular amusement parks Disneyland and OceanPark are closed from Jan. 26, state media CCTV reported. * The World Health Organisation (WHO) said that while theoutbreak was an emergency for China, it was not yet a globalhealth emergency. * Symptoms include fever, cough and difficulty breathing. * China says the virus is mutating and can be transmittedthrough human contact. * Two separate scientific analyses of the epidemic say eachperson infected is passing the disease on to between two andthree other people. * Those most affected are older people and those withunderlying health conditions. * Three research teams have begun work on developingpotential vaccines, the Coalition for Epidemic PreparednessInnovations said. Scientists hope to be testing the firstpossible vaccines in three months' time. * China announced further travel curbs on Saturday.Ride-hailing giant Didi Chuxing said it was halting inter-cityservices to and from Beijing from Sunday, while the capital willalso stop running inter-province shuttle buses. * Wuhan, a city of 11 million, is under severe travelrestrictions, with urban transport shut and outgoing flightssuspended. * China has advised people to avoid crowds and more than 10cities in the central province of Hubei, where Wuhan is located,have suspended some transport. * Tourist access to Beijing's Forbidden City closed andlarge gatherings cancelled, including two Lunar New Year templefairs, and closed part of the Great Wall. * Hong Kong has declared an emergency and will extend schoolholiday closures until Feb. 17. The city also cancelled allofficial Lunar New Year celebrations and official visits tomainland China. * Airports around the world have stepped up screening. * Some experts believe the virus is not as dangerous as the2002-03 Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) that killednearly 800 people, and Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS),which has killed more than 700 people since 2012.
(Compiled by Se Young Lee; Editing by Frances Kerry and David Holmes)