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China postpones key political meeting because of virus

China announced Monday it has postponed its most important political meeting of the year because of the outbreak of the new virus.

The move indicates the importance that President Xi Jinping places on the battle against the virus, which has killed more than 2,500 people and sickened more than 77,000 in mainland China.

The outbreak has posed one of the biggest political challenges to Xi’s administration since he took control of the ruling party in 2012. The annual meeting of the National People's Congress and its chief advisory body usually begins about March 5 and runs for more than two weeks, bringing thousands of delegates to Beijing.

In this photo taken Saturday, Feb. 22, 2020, a resident walks on the quiet street of Beijing, China. Regulators on Monday promised tax cuts and other aid to help companies recover from China's virus outbreak and expressed confidence the ruling Communist Party's growth targets can be achieved despite anti-disease controls that shut down much of the economy. (AP PhotoNg Han Guan)

In this photo taken Saturday, Feb. 22, 2020, shoppers walk near a mall display with the government slogan "Open windows and allow air to flow" in Beijing, China. Regulators on Monday promised tax cuts and other aid to help companies recover from China's virus outbreak and expressed confidence the ruling Communist Party's growth targets can be achieved despite anti-disease controls that shut down much of the economy. (AP PhotoNg Han Guan)