After breaking out in the city of Wuhan
, the official number of confirmed cases of the new virus reached more than 4,000 in China as of Tuesday, with over 100 deaths.
Some 50 infections have also been confirmed elsewhere in Asia, Europe and North America.
On Tuesday, Jyllands-Posten’s chief editor Jacob Nybroe said they would not “dream of” poking fun at the situation in China but also refused to apologize.
“We cannot apologize for something we don’t think is wrong. We have no intention of being demeaning or to mock, nor do we think that the drawing does,” Nybroe said.
“As far as I can see, this here is about different forms of cultural understanding.”
Several Danish politicians backed the paper, with Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen quoted by the Politiken newspaper as saying “we have freedom of expression in Denmark. Also to draw”.
Jylland-Posten is no stranger to controversy. In 2005, it published several cartoons depicting the Prophet Mohammed, which later contributed to violent protests in some Muslim countries.