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A woman wears a protective mask as she walks across the Yangtze River Bridge in Wuhan, China, on Jan. 27. Photo: Getty Images

106 people have died from an outbreak of a coronavirus strain that originated in Wuhan, China, the country's National Health Commission said on Monday.

The latest: Hong Kong's Chief Executive Carrie Lam said Tuesday that the semiautonomous city would cut its rail links to mainland China and flights would be reduced, though the measures stopped short of a total closure of the border, per the AP.

  • The U.S. State Department raised its travel advisory for China to "Level 3: Reconsider travel" this week because of the virus. Last week, the department raised the advisory for the Hubei province, where Wuhan is located, to "Level 4: Do Not Travel."
  • Officials in China have extended the Lunar New Year holiday until Feb. 2, instead of Jan. 30 as scheduled, in an attempt to stop people from traveling and spreading the respiratory illness, Bloomberg reports.
  • The U.S. Embassy in Beijing plans to evacuate its Wuhan consulate personnel and some private citizens on a limited-capacity charter flight to San Francisco, per AP, which reports that those "at greater risk from coronavirus" would be prioritized over others.

Impact in the U.S.: Five Americans — all of whom traveled in Wuhan, China, and are now in California (2), Arizona, Washington state, and Chicago — have contracted the virus.

What's happening: The number of confirmed cases in China has increased to more than 4,500, according to the country's National Health Commission. Health officials confirmed earlier last week that the virus, which causes fever and respiratory symptoms, can be passed from person to person.

  • Major cities in China, including Beijing, have canceled large public gatherings for the Lunar New Year holiday, the most important in the country, to help contain the outbreak, according to the Washington Post.
  • Wuhan is quickly building a pre-fabricated 1,000-bed hospital to treat only patients infected with coronavirus, as other hospitals struggle to meet demand and deal with a shortage of supplies.
  • The Chinese government this past week locked down the cities of Wuhan, Huanggang and Ezhou, collectively home to nearly 20 million people, AP reports.

The big picture: Several countries in the region are also experiencing cases, and North Korea is temporarily banning foreign tourists in response to the outbreak, according to Reuters.

  • On Monday, Australia confirmed its fifth case after diagnosing its first on Saturday.
  • The first case in Canada was confirmed by health officials Saturday after a patient presented with symptoms in Toronto.
  • In France, the country's Health Minister Agnès Buzyn confirmed two patients were hospitalized in Paris with the illness. The other case is in the southwestern city of Bordeaux, per Reuters.

What they're saying: The World Health Organization decided last week that it's "too early" to declare an international health emergency.

  • "Make no mistake, this is an emergency in China, but it is not yet a global health emergency," WHO director-general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said at a press conference.
  • "People's lives and health should be given top priority and the spread of the outbreak should be resolutely curbed," Chinese President Xi Jinping said Monday, according to Reuters.

What's next: A possible live animal source is still being investigated in China. There is no specific treatment for the virus, though several antivirals and experimental vaccines are under investigation.

Go deeper:

Editor's note: This story has been updated with more recent developments.

Go deeper

Updated 1 hour ago - Politics & Policy

Supreme Court rejects Trump's attempt to shield documents from Jan. 6 committee

Photo: Melissa Sue Gerrits/Getty Images

The Supreme Court rejected on Wednesday night a bid by former President Trump to block the release of documents and records from his administration to the House committee investigating the Jan. 6 riot at the Capitol.

Why it matters: Trump asked the Supreme Court to step in and block the release of the documents last month after a panel on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit unanimously denied his attempt to prevent the committee from obtaining the materials.

Senate Republicans block voting rights bill

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell walks to the Senate floor on Jan. 18. Photo: Eric Lee/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Senate Republicans blocked Democrats' voting rights legislation from coming to a final vote on Wednesday in what was largely viewed as a doomed effort from the start.

Why it matters: The failed vote underscores the Democratic Party's current uphill battle to pass sweeping legislation in a 50-50 Senate.

Updated 1 hour ago - Politics & Policy

Biden says Russia likely to invade Ukraine

President Biden addressed the brewing conflict between Russia and Ukraine during a press briefing Wednesday, saying of Russian President Vladimir Putin, "my guess is he will move in."

Why it matters: U.S. officials have issued a series of warnings about Russia's threatening military buildup on the border with Ukraine, with Secretary of State Antony Blinken saying in Kyiv earlier Wednesday that Russia could invade "on very short notice."