The Latest: Shanghai index drops 8% as virus outbreak grows

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BEIJING (AP) — The Latest on the outbreak of a new virus from China (all times local):

4:45 p.m.

The Shanghai Composite index has lost nearly 8% as Chinese regulators moved to stabilize markets jolted by a virus that has spread to more than 20 countries, slamming regional tourism and threatening global growth.

The outbreak of the virus in China has prompted governments around the world to step up surveillance and quarantine requirements as airlines cancel hundreds of flights. Millions of Chinese remained in lock-down as the number of people infected by the virus topped 17,000 as of Sunday night. It has killed more than 360 people, all but one in China.

The Shanghai benchmark dropped almost 9% after markets opened on Monday after a week-long Lunar New Year holiday that was extended by three days. It was its worst day since August 2015, despite the central bank’s effort to put billions of dollars of extra cash into the markets through short-term securities purchases.

Many analysts have dropped their forecasts for China, the world’s second-largest economy, to near 5% from earlier forecasts of 6% economic growth for the year.

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2:15 p.m.

Aviation authorities say that two flights carrying dozens of Pakistani students, Chinese and other passengers landed in Pakistan days after Islamabad suspended all flights with Beijing amid the outbreak of a new virus there.

The passengers on Monday were permitted to leave the airport after their medical examinations.

Civil Aviation Authority spokesman Abdul Sattar Khokhar says the ban on flights to and from China ended Sunday night and that the government health department had made “special arrangements” for screening incoming passengers.

Last week’s ban on flights with China affected 22 weekly flights.

So far, Pakistan has no plans to evacuate some 30,000 nationals, including students, living in China.

Authorities say that so far four Pakistani students in China have been diagnosed with the new virus and their conditions are listed as stable. About 500 Pakistani students were in Wuhan — the site of the outbreak — at the time it surfaced.

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10:40 a.m.

South Korea’s defense ministry says about 800 South Korean soldiers have been placed under quarantine as a precaution against a new coronavirus from China.

Ministry spokeswoman Choi Hyunsoo told reporters Monday that the soldiers either recently visited China, Hong Kong or Macau, or contacted people who visited those countries.

She says 450 of them are quarantined at their military bases and the remaining 350 at their homes.

South Korea has so far reported 15 cases of the new coronavirus, but none of them is affiliated with the country’s 600,000-strong military.

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