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The director-general of the World Health Organization is visiting Beijing to assess China’s response to a deadly coronavirus as the death toll climbed to at least 100, Bloomberg News reports. 

Key quotes

Chinese officials said the virus isn’t yet under control despite aggressive steps to limit movement for millions of people who live in cities near Wuhan, the epicenter of the outbreak.

Deaths in Hubei, where most of the fatalities have occurred, rose to 100 from 76, according to the latest number released by the provincial Health Commission. Confirmed cases in Hubei, where Wuhan is located, jumped to 2,714. China’s National Health Commission on Monday announced 80 deaths on the mainland.

Cases of infection have been reported throughout Asia and Australia, as well as in the U.S., France and Canada. Germany confirmed its first case.

WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said he’s heading to Beijing to meet with the government and assess the response. That follows a visit on Monday by Chinese Premier Li Keqiang to Wuhan.

Last week, the WHO declined to label the coronavirus an international emergency, a designation that would have allowed the United Nations agency to begin coordinating government responses.

As the outbreak accelerates, China has extended the Lunar New Year holiday to Feb. 2 from the original Jan. 30 date to reduce travel. Authorities have also locked down cities with a combined 40 million people around Wuhan, as they race to contain the virus.

Market implications 

The fear of contagion and the concerns that the virus is unlike nothing seen before is keeping markets on edge. 

  • The US 10-year Treasury yield drops below 1.60% for the first time since October

Subsequently, the S&P 500 lost 52 points, or 1.57%, to end near 3,244 while the Dow Jones Industrial Average, DJIA, lost 454 points, or 1.6%, to end 28,535, based on preliminary numbers. The Nasdaq Composite tumbled 176 points, or 1.9%, to close at around 9.139.