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Xi calls situation grave as China scrambles to contain virus

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Posted at 1:09 PM, Jan 25, 2020
and last updated 2020-01-25 16:09:38-05

(AP) — China's leader has called the accelerating spread of a new virus a grave situation.

Cities from the outbreak's epicenter in central China to Hong Kong are scrambling to contain an illness that has infected more than 1,200 people and killed 41. The city of Wuhan where the outbreak started is banning most vehicles in downtown areas to restrict people's movement, while Hong Kong is closing schools for two weeks.

The vast majority of the infections and all the deaths have been in mainland China, but fresh cases are popping up.

RELATED: US prepares as coronavirus outbreak continues

Australia and Malaysia reported their first cases Saturday, and other countries reported additional ones.

The first U.S. case cropped up in Washington state on Jan. 21, before a second case was reported in Chicago. There are a handful of other suspected cases in Tennessee and Texas, but health officials have yet to confirm they are coronavirus related. A suspected case in New Jersey tested negative for the virus, officials said.