China's most important celebrations of the year have been cancelled in Beijing on Friday in an attempt to limit the spread of the deadly coronavirus.

The Lunar New Year celebration is usually one of the busiest times of the year in China, with millions travelling back to their families. This year marks the beginning of the Year of the Rat.

Footage shows deserted streets in Beijing, with many people wearing face masks.

One Russian tourist, Vlad, came to Beijing especially to see the fireworks and dragon dance performance. "There are few people in the city, almost nobody rides the subway, [and] no people on the streets. I’m very sad that all the events have been cancelled," he said.

One Beijing resident, Tu Yueming, said he thought "this [cancellation of the Lunar New Year events] is very normal. [The] Chinese government takes measures to fight [the virus]."

The Chinese government has imposed travel bans on several cities for the weekend. Cinemas and tourist attractions including the Forbidden City will remain closed, according to local reports.

There are 894 confirmed cases of the newly emerging coronavirus, which has killed at least 26 people, with cases spreading over the country. An outbreak of a respiratory illness caused by the newly emerging coronavirus - also known as 2019-nCoV - was reported in Wuhan, in December 2019.

Cases have been reported in South Korea, Japan, Taiwan, Thailand, Vietnam, Singapore, Italy and the US. China has confirmed two deaths outside the outbreak's epicentre.

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