Coronavirus live updates: China tries to get back to work; Beijing sets a 14-day quarantine rule for arrivals

Covid-19, Health, Fitness & Food

This is a live blog. Please check back for updates.

Total confirmed cases: More than 64,000
Total deaths: At least 1,380

8:20 am:  IMF chief says next two weeks will be critical for China

The next two weeks will be crucial in determining the economic impact of the coronavirus, says International Monetary Fund Managing Director Kristalina Georgieva. In that time, factories are due to reopen in China, which would give a “better understanding on the resilience of China and on that basis, the spillover for the rest of the world,” Georgieva said. She said the IMF was also watching how the new coronavirus was spreading outside of China, stating that it was “not a major issue for now” but if it spread into “weak health system countries, for example in Africa” that may change. —McKeever

7:20 am: Businesses in China try to return to work

Two weeks after the Lunar New Year holiday was originally supposed to end, Chinese businesses are still getting up to speed as the country deals with disruptions from a highly contagious virus. The new coronavirus that began to grab national attention in mid-January has killed more than 1,300 people in mainland China. More than half of the provinces delayed the resumption of work from the first week of February by at least a week in an effort to keep people from interacting and spreading the virus. In many places, businesses were scheduled to resume work this past Monday, but a variety of data indicates progress has been slow as the virus remains an unresolved concern. Many local governments have also imposed strict restrictions on entering certain areas and requiring quarantines of at least two weeks for people who have returned from out-of-town. — Cheng

7:10 am: Hong Kong pledges $3.2 billion to contain virus

Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam on Friday pledged handouts totaling $3.2 billion to the Hospital Authority and businesses grappling with the coronavirus outbreak that has piled further pressure on the Chinese-ruled city’s battered economy. Lam, speaking at a press conference, said the government would provide $605 million to the Hospital Authority in addition to a series of one-off payments to retailers and others impacted by the outbreak. Hong Kong has 56 confirmed cases of the virus, which has killed one person in the city. The package will need to be approved by the city’s Legislative Council. — Reuters

This scanning electron microscope image shows SARS-CoV-2 (orange)—also known as 2019-nCoV, the virus that causes COVID-19—isolated from a patient in the U.S., emerging from the surface of cells (green) cultured in the lab.


6:30 am: China’s Xi says country must fix loopholes exposed during coronavirus outbreak

Chinese President Xi Jinping has urged the ruling Communist Party to repair loopholes and weaknesses exposed during the fast-spreading coronavirus outbreak, Reuters reported on Friday, citing state television. His reported comments come shortly after China’s National Health Commission reported an additional 121 deaths nationwide, with 5,090 new confirmed cases of the coronavirus. The flu-like virus was found to have killed a total of 1,380 people in mainland China as of Thursday evening after the health commission said it had removed 108 deaths from the total figure due to a double-count in Hubei province — the epicenter of the global coronavirus outbreak. It is the second day in a row that the province’s data changes have caused significant changes to a nationwide figure, fueling doubts many have about their accuracy. The White House does “not have high confidence in the information coming out of China,” a senior U.S. administration official told CNBC on Thursday.

5:50 am: China’s top auto industry body reportedly expects auto sales to tumble more than 10% in the first half of 2020

Auto sales in China are expected to fall more than 10% in the first six months of the year as a result of the coronavirus outbreak, Reuters reported Friday, citing China’s top auto industry body. “We predict auto sales will drop more than 10% in the first half of this year, and around 5% for the whole year if the epidemic is effectively contained before April,” Fu Bingfeng, executive vice chairman at China’s Association of Automobile Manufacturers (CAAM), told Reuters in an interview published Friday. CAAM’s latest forecast reflects a much weaker outlook for auto sales in the world’s largest auto market than it had initially projected. Last month, the industry body said it expected auto sales were likely to dip 2% in 2020.

Read CNBC’s coverage from CNBC’s Asia-Pacific team overnight here: China says six health workers have died, Singapore warns of recession. All times above are in Eastern time.

— Reuters and CNBC’s Vicky McKeeverSam Meredith, Weizhen Tan, Evelyn Cheng contributed to this report.

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