Stocks in Asia fell on Thursday as the U.S. Federal Reserve kept interest rates on hold and investors continued to watch for developments on the ongoing coronavirus outbreak. Hong Kong-listed shares of travel-related firms declined, as China Southeren Airlines fell 3.34% and Cathy Pacific slipped 2.13%. Gaming companies also plunged as Wynn Macau dropped 5.21% and Melco Intenational Development fell 5.35%. In Taiwan, where markets returned to trade from the holidays, the Taiex plunged 5.75% to close at 11,421.74 as shares of manufacturing giant and major Apple supplier Hon Hai Precisian Industry also known as Foxconn, dropped 9.97%. Overall, the MSCI Asia ex-Japan index was 2.17% lower. Markets in China remained closed on Thursday for a holiday. Investors continued to watch for developments on the ongoing coronavirus outbreak that has already taken 170 lives and infected more than 7,700 in china, according to the latest update by China’s National Health Commission. “A lot of people have already moved into the very defensive areas that they can do,” Andrew Sullivan, director at Pearl Bridge Partners, told CNBC’s “Street Signs” on Thursday. “I think longer-term wise, we know the markets are going to recover, but nobody wants to … start jumping in until there’s some certainty there.” On the downside in Asia however, Hong Kong stocks sank 1.8 percent as a fresh outbreak in the city prompted authorities to re-impose measures including the closure of schools. “It’s basically been a chop-fest this week,” noted markets.com analyst Neil Wilson. Gold, after hitting a near nine-year high earlier this week, eased lower in late exchanges as markets advanced. The markets have generally displayed a healthy suppleness to the rapid spread of the disease around the world, with hopes for economic recovery, easing of lockdowns and government generosity providing crucial support.