WUHAN, China — The repercussions from a mysterious virus that has sickened hundreds of people began reverberating far from its epicenter in central China on Saturday, as Hong Kong closed its schools for several weeks, Beijing began restricting buses in and out of the capital, and the country’s travel association suspended Chinese tour groups heading overseas.
The new measures, coming on top of previous travel restrictions that had effectively penned in tens of millions of people in Hubei, the province at the heart of the outbreak, are certain to further dampen celebrations of the Lunar New Year, which began on Saturday.
They came, too, as China’s top leader, Xi Jinping, who had said little publicly about the crisis despite growing criticism of the response, pledged Saturday that officials would “stand at the front line to safeguard social stability.”
The illness linked to the virus has killed at least 56 people and sickened more than 1,300 in China, according to official reports. Cases have been confirmed in all but one of China’s provinces and autonomous regions, as well as in at least 11 other countries as the virus has spread to Europe, the United States Australia…
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