Virus eclipses China’s Lunar New Year

Chinese paper lanterns

Chinese paper lanterns celebrate the Lunar New Year

The Chinese New Year, reportedly the world’s biggest annual travel event, is being tamped down by limits on travel restrictions over the spread of the coronavirus outbreak.

The BBC reports that  travel restrictions have cover more than 36 million people near the center of the outbreak. And in the United States, the Chicago Tribune reports, Chinese families were opting for face masks instead of fireworks and some holiday events were being canceled, hurting business at restaurants and halls.

Although the virus has largely been confined to China, one of the first three cases in the United States was a 60-year-old woman in Chicago. She had recently returned from Wuhan, the center of the outbreak.

The virus has has killed at least 40 people and sickened hundreds.

More than a billion people will celebrate the 15-day long celebration of Year 4718. The holiday will conclude  Feb. 4. It is normally a festive time for families to travel to be together, feasting, fireworks and putting on new clothes to celebrate the coming of spring.

This is the best known of several new year or spring holiday celebrated throughout Asia. Dates are determined each year by the lunar calendar. 

Want to learn more about East Asian cultures? 100 Questions and Answers about East Asian Cultures can be purchased on Amazon or Front Edge Publishing. 

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