It’s unclear when the gathering will take place. The South China Morning Post said the CPPCC session set for March 3 would also be delayed.

The decision is likely to have had both public health and political considerations. There have been numerous global reports of people catching the virus at conferences and numerous high-profile events have been canceled globally. At the same time, the reports of the postponement come amid public anger over the perception Chinese officials in the worst-hit province—and potentially higher up—were slow to warn the public of the dangers of a virus that has infected more than 70,500 people in China and caused 1,770 deaths. A speech released over the weekend showed Chinese leader Xi Jinping referring to recommendations he made on dealing with the virus on Jan. 7, weeks before his first public remarks on it.

The fact that, Wuhan, the city at the epicenter of the outbreak, went ahead with its own Two Sessions meeting from Jan. 6-10, has also been widely commented on as a misstep on Chinese social media. Weeks later, cities elsewhere in China reported their first cases of the virus. With the virus not yet contained, allowing the meeting to go forward would cement the idea that politics is again being put ahead of public safety.

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