January 30, 2020 / 7:03 AM / 6 months ago

China urges food producers to resume production amid virus outbreak

A woman wearing a face mask leaves a supermarket with a loaded shopping trolley in Changsha, Hunan province, China, as the country is hit by an outbreak of a new coronavirus, January 29, 2020. REUTERS/Thomas Peter

BEIJING (Reuters) - China’s agriculture ministry on Thursday urged feed producers and slaughter houses to speed up the resumption of production, in a bid to increase supplies amid the outbreak of the new coronavirus.

Factories typically shut down during the Lunar New Year holidays, which have been extended to at least Feb. 2 to curb the spread of the epidemic that has killed 170 in China and infected more than 7,700 individuals.

The virus outbreak has led to a jump in prices and insufficient supply of food in some Chinese cities due to panic buying and disruptions to transportation.

The transportation ministry issued a statement on Thursday asking local authorities not to cut off highways and main roads between provinces despite the virus outbreak.

Reporting by Muyu Xu and Tony Munroe; Editing by Aditya Soni

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