Coronavirus Claims Second Life Off Mainland China
The second victim of coronavirus outside of mainland China was a 39-year-old man from Hong Kong with an underlying illness, who had visited China’s Wuhan city, the epicentre of the outbreak now under virtual quarantine.
The death brought the toll from the fast-spreading outbreak to 427.
Thousands of medical workers in Hong Kong, a semi-autonomous region of China, held a second day of strikes to press for complete closure of borders with the mainland after three checkpoints were left open.
“We’re not threatening the government, we just want to prevent the outbreak,” said a nurse taking part in the strike.
On the financial front, global and Chinese markets rose, with both Europe and metals enjoying their best sessions of the year after Shanghai’s main market lost nearly $400 billion the previous day.
But in the latest corporate hit, Hyundai Motor (005380.KS) said it would gradually suspend production at South Korean factories because of supply chain disruptions.
China reported a record daily jump in deaths of 64, taking the toll to 425. A man also died in the Philippines last week after visiting Wuhan, the first virus-related overseas fatality.
Total infections in mainland China rose to 20,438, and nearly 200 cases have been reported across roughly two dozen countries, Hong Kong and Macau.
Macau, also a special administrative region of China lying across the Pearl River estuary from Hong Kong, said it had asked all casino operators to suspend operations for two weeks to help prevent the coronavirus spreading.
Macau’s chief executive, Ho Iat Seng, made the announcement as the former Portuguese colony, whose glittering casinos draw hundreds of thousands of gamblers from across the globe, reported 10 confirmed cases of the virus and imposed tight restrictions on movements in and out of the territory.
Thailand’s tally of infections jumped to 25, the highest outside China, while Singapore’s rose to 24.
The World Health Organization (WHO) has declared the flu-like virus a global emergency, and experts say much is still unknown, including its mortality rate and transmission routes.
Australia has 13 confirmed cases of coronavirus after an eight-year-old boy in Queensland was reported of having contracted the infection last night.
Fifty Australians were evacuated from Wuhan on Wednesday on an Air New Zealand flight.
They will now be quarantined on Christmas Island, joining 241 people who arrived earlier this week.