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China scrambles to contain 'strengthening' virus

Stock MarketsJan 26, 2020 07:16AM ET
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By Gabriel D. Crossley and Cheng Leng

BEIJING/SHANGHAI (Reuters) - The ability of the new coronavirus to spread is strengthening and infections could continue to rise, China's National Health Commission said on Sunday, with nearly 2,000 people in China infected and 56 killed by the disease.

A handful of cases have been reported outside China, including in Thailand, Australia, the United States and France, with health authorities around the world racing to prevent a pandemic.

The newly-identified coronavirus has created alarm because there are still many unknowns surrounding it, such as how dangerous it is and how easily it spreads between people. It can cause pneumonia, which has been deadly in some cases.

China's National Health Commission Minister Ma Xiaowei said the incubation period for the virus can range from one to 14 days, and the virus is infectious during incubation, which was not the case with Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS).

SARS was a coronavirus that originated in China and killed nearly 800 people globally in 2002 and 2003.

"According to recent clinical information, the virus's ability to spread seems to be getting somewhat stronger," Ma told a packed media briefing on the second day of the Lunar New Year holiday, adding that knowledge of the virus was limited.

Containment efforts, which have thus far included transportation and travel curbs and the cancellation of big events, will be intensified, Ma said.

The virus, believed to have originated late last year in a seafood market in the central Chinese city of Wuhan that was illegally selling wildlife, has spread to cities including Beijing and Shanghai. Hong Kong has six confirmed cases.

President Xi Jinping said during a politburo meeting on Saturday that China was facing a "grave situation".

On Sunday, China announced a temporary nationwide ban on the sale of wildlife in markets, restaurants, and e-commerce platforms. Wild and often poached animals packed together in Chinese markets are blamed as incubators for viruses to evolve and jump the species barrier to humans.

Snakes, peacocks, crocodiles and other species can also be found for sale via Taobao, an e-commerce website run by Alibaba (NYSE:BABA).

The New York-based Wildlife Conservation Society called on China to make the ban permanent.

The U.S. State Department said it will relocate personnel at its Wuhan consulate to the United States and will offer a limited number of seats to private U.S. citizens on a Jan. 28 flight to San Francisco.

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said on Sunday the government was working with Chinese authorities to arrange a charter flight for any Japanese nationals who wish to return from Wuhan.

The World Health Organization this week stopped short of calling the outbreak a global health emergency, but some health experts question whether China can continue to contain the epidemic.

On Sunday, China confirmed 1,975 cases of patients infected with the new coronavirus as of Jan. 25, while the death toll from the virus has risen to 56, state broadcaster CCTV reported.

No fatalities have been reported outside China.

The outbreak has prompted widening curbs on movements within China, with Wuhan, a city of 11 million, on virtual lockdown, with transports links all-but severed except for emergency vehicles.

CANCELLATIONS AND MISTRUST

Health authorities in Beijing urged people not to shake hands but instead salute using a traditional cupped-hand gesture. The advice was sent in a text message that went out to mobile phone users in the city on Sunday morning.

Beijing also postponed the reopening of the city's schools and universities after the Lunar New Year holiday, state radio reported. Hong Kong had already delayed the reopening of schools to Feb. 17.

Health officials in Orange County, California, reported that a third case of the virus had been registered in the United States, in a traveler from Wuhan, who was in isolation and in good condition.

On Saturday, Canada declared a first "presumptive" confirmed case in a resident who had returned from Wuhan. Australia confirmed its first four cases.

China has called for transparency in managing the crisis, after a cover-up of the spread of the deadly SARS virus eroded public trust, but officials in Wuhan have been criticized for their handling of the current outbreak.

"People in my hometown all suspect the real infected patients number given by authorities," said Violet Li, who lives in the Wuhan district where the seafood market is located.

"I go out with a mask twice a day to walk the dog - that's the only outdoor activity," she told Reuters by text message.

The outbreak has overshadowed the start of the Lunar New Year, when hundreds of millions of Chinese travel at home and abroad to be with families, with public events canceled and many tourist sites shut.

Overall passenger travel declined by nearly 29 percent on Saturday, the first day of the Lunar New Year, from a year earlier, with air passengers down nearly 42 percent, a transportation ministry official said.

Many cinemas across China are also closed with major film premieres postponed.

Cruise operators including Royal Caribbean Cruises, Costa Cruises, MSC Cruises and Astro Ocean Cruises said that they canceled a combined 12 cruises that had been scheduled to embark from Chinese ports before Feb. 2.

Hong Kong Disneyland and the city's Ocean Park were closed on Sunday. Shanghai Disneyland, which expected 100,000 visitors daily through the Lunar New Year holidays, has already closed.

Airports around the world have stepped up screening of passengers from China, although some health officials and experts have questioned the effectiveness of these efforts.

China scrambles to contain 'strengthening' virus
 

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Comments (19)
Dietmar Stahl
Dietmar Stahl Jan 27, 2020 1:44AM ET
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Stop eating everything alive. I don't eat meat for 25 year and I don't need it. Let these animals live too.
Phoenix Purin
Phoenix Purin Jan 27, 2020 1:44AM ET
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It's not the meat but rather the extremely horrifying conditions they prepare the food in. It also does not help they are eating the strangest things with all their blood, ****all mixed together. How that alone doesn't instantly smite them is beyond me.
Andrew Paeth
Andrew Paeth Jan 26, 2020 10:59PM ET
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First China... then Pamela Anderson drops her ***on stage... virus threats everwhere...
Andrew Paeth
Andrew Paeth Jan 26, 2020 10:59PM ET
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Wow... you cant even say pant-ees?
ali bakr
ali bakr Jan 26, 2020 10:35PM ET
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And first cases from LaX coming in. That the ports are still open is a shame.
Gennady Gem
Gennady Gem Jan 26, 2020 9:42PM ET
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Short Apple. Buy 250 puts with  30 day expiration.
David David
David9 Jan 26, 2020 9:42PM ET
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Shorting Apple is never a good idea, you will get whacked.
Tobias Mueller
Tobias Mueller Jan 26, 2020 9:42PM ET
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You prolly got rėkt, mate!
Peter Carrington
Peter Carrington Jan 26, 2020 3:55PM ET
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Where do you buy Coronavirus stocks? Sounds promising.. . . Thanks
TRUSTMAN CHANNEL
TRUSTMAN CHANNEL Jan 26, 2020 3:55PM ET
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u go for supply n vaccines stock. bcrx nvax nnvc aemd
Steve Marino
Steve Marino Jan 26, 2020 3:55PM ET
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AEMD is actually a medicsl device company without an FDA approved decice yet. So be careful with that one as of yet. Its gone up a lot already since this virus started spreading.
IVAN MATTOS
IVAN MATTOS Jan 26, 2020 3:55PM ET
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Jon Benton
Jon Benton Jan 26, 2020 1:41PM ET
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Well (IMO) when you see one of the Pro.s (Doctor) die from infection , Something quite WRONG ! Better measure needed
Aakash Nahata
Aakash Nahata Jan 26, 2020 11:47AM ET
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virus spread by Chinese as they want to eat alll animals on earth watever they are ...... Chinese people making there and others people life miserable , people of china should think twice before ****animals.... and making der food.
David David
David9 Jan 26, 2020 11:41AM ET
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China is doing a great job to contained the spread. No other nation can locked down a few big cities and control the spread like China. They can mobilized the nation centrally. If this were to happen elsewhere, it would be far worst.
Kingy Yu
Kingy Yu Jan 26, 2020 11:41AM ET
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China is great , there is no doubt there. But your party *** It is the initial cover up led to such an outbreak.
David David
David9 Jan 26, 2020 11:41AM ET
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They have learned the lessons from SARS. This time around, China has been very upfront and is doing the containment very well. You see orders coming down centrally and mobilizing on a very fast pace everywhere.
mad god
mad god Jan 26, 2020 11:41AM ET
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David David  Wuhan government covered it up in the beginning If they didn't cover it up in the beginning, they would not shutdown multiple cities. why could it make commie great?
mad god
mad god Jan 26, 2020 11:41AM ET
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From this news article: . "China has called for transparency in managing the crisis, after a cover-up of the spread of the deadly SARS virus eroded public trust, but officials in Wuhan have been criticized for their handling of the current outbreak.. . "People in my hometown all suspect the real infected patients number given by authorities," said Violet Li, who lives in the Wuhan district where the seafood market is located."
David David
David9 Jan 26, 2020 11:41AM ET
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Speculations and reading Fake News is never a good thing.
Tim Mcdaniel
Tim Mcdaniel Jan 26, 2020 10:13AM ET
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people can still travel from China to other countries? why.
Space Lord
Space Lord Jan 26, 2020 10:13AM ET
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Government of other countries think they smart enough and control situation. Weakness of the system makes problem bigger.
Ron Warren
Ron Warren Jan 26, 2020 9:23AM ET
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You are aware that we get a lot of food from China. The FDA doesn't require import labeling. If your garlic powder doesn't say specifically where it came from, that means it came from China and was grown on ****matter. Bar S Meats has it's meat processed in China to save money. No FDA, No sanitary controls. Just the tip of the iceberg. Remember when Trump first took office and negotiated the import of chicken from China?
mad god
mad god Jan 26, 2020 9:23AM ET
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China is the biggest food importer in the world...
Vivek Joshi
VivekJ Jan 26, 2020 8:06AM ET
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You reap what you sow!
Triplicis Mundi Summum
Triplicis Mundi Summum Jan 26, 2020 8:06AM ET
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Edward Chong Not as sick as the things people eat that got us into this mess in the first place.
Ilya Atomiq
Ilya Atomiq Jan 26, 2020 6:56AM ET
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pray for China!
Triplicis Mundi Summum
Triplicis Mundi Summum Jan 26, 2020 6:56AM ET
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Pray for the rest of the world too that this doesn’t escalate like it has in the country of its source.
James Wildfire
WeaponsGrade Jan 26, 2020 6:20AM ET
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Meanwhile, media hype notwithstanding, influenza virus has already sickened at least 13 million Americans this winter, hospitalizing 120,000 and ***6,600, according to the CDC. And flu season hasn’t even peaked. In a bad year, the flu kills up to 61,000 Americans.
Yan Li
Yan Li Jan 26, 2020 6:20AM ET
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same flu took a few hundreds australian lifes, but people not dear of it. because it has vaccine to deal with. people fear of uncertain disease, even it is not severe. this new disease is an unknown disease.
Kingy Yu
Kingy Yu Jan 26, 2020 6:20AM ET
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I found this argument in many places. Mostly posted by so called water army. Let me tell you this fact, in US, if a flu let to a heart attack for an elder people, this is counted as a death from flu. In China , it is counted as death from heart attack. Now see the differnce? If use the same rule, do you know how many people die from flu in china? Think about the 1.4 billion population. The number cannot be uglier.
Alexandra Heicklen
Alexandra Heicklen Jan 26, 2020 6:20AM ET
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I think youre right. Older people, young kids, those with other existing conditions or just those who dont have access to modern quality medical care die from thr flu or pnuemonia or even the common cold all the time. I am glad china is working to contain since we do not yet know everything about this disease. But i also think this hysteria is out of control. Ebola for example is a much more terrifiying disease and everyone got over that scare quickly. To the few people infected who ended up in the states it was not deadly bc they had access to proper care and hydration and nutrition. This fear and market reaction is really out of control and its frustrating.
I Short Retail traders
I Short Retail traders Jan 26, 2020 6:20AM ET
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Alexandra Heicklen  Dont worry about the market, just make $$ based on the human fear condition.
Sandeep Chaudhary
Sandeep Chaudhary Jan 26, 2020 6:07AM ET
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what u say about hold it will rise more or dump
Allan Kiprotich
Allan Kiprotich Jan 26, 2020 5:29AM ET
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I think i should call Thanos to wipe out half of the earth
Charlotte Col
Charlotte Col Jan 26, 2020 5:29AM ET
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Thanos is not real. It’s just a movie. Trust me
I Short Retail traders
I Short Retail traders Jan 26, 2020 5:29AM ET
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Charlotte Col  lmao....where is your sense of humor. I mean Thanos is real !! :)
Space Lord
Space Lord Jan 26, 2020 3:54AM ET
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Market in selling all next week long, till the end chinese holidays.
Space Lord
Space Lord Jan 26, 2020 3:46AM ET
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Lovely empty streets. I really don't like crowded around.
alan chung
alan chung Jan 26, 2020 3:42AM ET
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indeed Wuhan now has over 100K people infected, the official announced umber is far lower
Andrew Paeth
Andrew Paeth Jan 26, 2020 3:42AM ET
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Anonymous reports are claiming on social media that many officials fled Wuhan and that hospitals have bodies stacked up in layers everywhere. An estimated 5M people flew or traveled out of Wuhan during the guesstimated incubation period. The next two weeks will be *****if true.
I Short Retail traders
I Short Retail traders Jan 26, 2020 3:42AM ET
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Andrew Paeth  Awesome, you must have believed in the Easter bunny longer than most too??
Ab Ab
Ab Ab Jan 25, 2020 11:41PM ET
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you don't build a new hospital because there are 2000 infected . but if you multiply that nr by 20 would be more believable.
Francesco Trader
Francesco Trader Jan 25, 2020 11:41PM ET
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A normal hospital would be already packed with 2000 patients.. you are talking about 20000 beds? lol
Francesco Trader
Francesco Trader Jan 25, 2020 11:41PM ET
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I mean 40000*
Jack Zhang
Jack_A Jan 25, 2020 11:41PM ET
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believe or not, helpers are helpers, complainers are complainers.
Yuriy Klyahin
Yuriy Klyahin Jan 25, 2020 11:41PM ET
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field hospital, just a tent like on a battlefield
 
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