China allots nearly $9 billion to contain spread of virus

A man wearing a face mask looks at his cellphone as he walks at a metro station, as the country is hit by an outbreak of the new coronavirus, in Beijing, China January 26, 2020. REUTERS/Carlos Garcia Rawlins

SHANGHAI (Reuters) - China’s finance ministry and National Health Commission have extended 60.33 billion yuan ($8.74 billion) to help contain a spreading virus, according to a statement on the ministry’s website.

The death toll from the coronavirus outbreak rose to 81 on Monday, as the government extended the Lunar New Year holiday and more big businesses shut down or told staff to work from home in an effort to curb the spread.

Reporting by Winni Zhou, Sun Yilei, Leng Cheng and Josh Horwitz; Editing by Kim COghill