© Reuters.

By Alex Ho

Investing.com – Asian markets fell on Thursday morning as China puts the entire city of Wuhan into lockdown to stem the spread of a deadly virus.

The and the both dropped 0.5% by 10:30 PM ET (02:30 GMT). Hong Kong’s Index lost 0.9%.

China issued a travel suspension in Wuhan, a city of 11 million, as its latest attempt to stop the spread of the coronavirus that has killed at least 17 people and infected hundreds of people in China, the U.S., Thailand, Taiwan, Japan and the Republic of Korea, according to WHO and Chinese state media.

The travel ban was reported by state broadcaster CCTV late Thursday.

The news came after the World Health Organization postponed making a decision on whether the mysterious virus is a global health emergency.

“This is an evolving and complex situation,” said Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, director-general of the WHO, in a briefing with reporters in Geneva.

“Today, there was an excellent discussion during the committee meeting, but it was also clear that to proceed we need more information,” he added.

Japan’s slid 0.5%. The country’s fell 6.3% in December from a year earlier, Ministry of Finance data showed on Thursday.

That compared with the expected 4.2% decrease and followed a 7.9% year-on-year decline in the previous month.

fell 4.9% in the year to December, versus the median estimate for a 3.4% decrease. They fell 15.7% in the previous month.

South Korea’s KOSPI was down 0.5%.

Down under, Australia’s ASX 200 fell 0.6% despite data that showed the country’s December month rose more than the 15,000 forecast to 28,900 while unemployment rate slipped below the expected 5.2% expected to 5.1%.

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