MONTREAL - The Cirque du Soleil is cancelling all performances in Hangzhou, China to ward off the potential spreading of the coronavirus.

The Montreal-based acrobatic troupe says it made the decision to cancel all performances of The Land of Fantasy show after Chinese officials requested the temporary closing of all indoor activities with 100 or more people to stem the outbreak.

Cirque CEO Daniel Lamarre says it has a responsibility to step up and take preventative measures by putting health and safety its top priority.

Cirque says the company and its partner Hangzhou Xintiandi Group has been working with Chinese officials, the Canadian embassy and the Quebec government office in Shanghai.

The World Health Organization on Thursday chose not to declare a global health emergency because of the disease even as China quarantined more territory around the city at the heart of the outbreak, Wuhan, to prevent its spread.

At least 17 people have died in China and another 500 people have been infected, with cases popping up in other countries as well.