Your Friday Briefing – The New York Times

In China, the all-important Lunar New Year holiday begins today, but the outbreak of a deadly virus is overwhelming hospitals and raising fears of a pandemic akin to one fueled by SARS, a similar disease that originated in China in 2002 and killed more than 800 people worldwide.

Here are the latest updates and a map of where the virus, which has killed at least 26 people and sickened more than 600 people in Asia, has spread.

Experts from the World Health Organization said on Thursday that it was too early to declare the outbreak an international health emergency, even as China took the apparently unprecedented move of keeping millions of people in Wuhan and nearby cities on a travel lockdown.

Looking ahead: The outbreak has dampened growth prospects for the world’s second-largest economy during what is normally a busy spending season. Financial markets fell across Asia on Thursday, led by a sharp drop in stocks in China.

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