China mulls postponing annual parliament session amid coronavirus spread

PTI Beijing | Updated on February 17, 2020

China is considering a rare move to postpone its annual parliament session scheduled to be held in early March as the country grapples with the coronavirus outbreak that has claimed over 1,700 lives, official media reported on Monday.

The 13th National People’s Congress (NPC), the country’s top legislature, is due to hold its annual session in Beijing on March 5, according to an official announcement in December last year.

But amid the spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19), the NPC Standing Committee is to discuss postponing this year’s NPC plenary session, the state-run China Daily said in a brief report.

If the NPC, which is held every year along with the advisory body Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC), is postponed, it will be regarded as an unprecedented move.

The ruling Communist Party of China (CPC) considers two sessions as significant political events to adopt its national agenda, including the annual budgets.

Together the NPC and CPPCC have over 5,000 delegates. China is discouraging large gathering to prevent the spread of the virus.

The postponement is reportedly being contemplated as the coronavirus continued its virulent run, though officials say it is slowing down.

China reported 105 new deaths due to the coronavirus on Monday, increasing the overall death toll to 1,770.

The National Health Commission said 2,048 new cases of the virus have been confirmed, taking the total number of infected cases to 70,548, Xinhua news agency reported.

Published on February 17, 2020

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