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China Cases Top 70,000; Japan’s Abe Loses Support: Virus Update
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China Cases Top 70,000; Japan’s Abe Loses Support: Virus Update
(Bloomberg) -- China said the number of coronavirus cases climbed above 70,000 as the province at the epicenter of the outbreak reported 1,933 new infections, slightly higher than a day earlier.The head of a Wuhan hospital said a turning point has been reached as new cases fell over the weekend, but the outlook was more cautionary outside of China. The head of the U.S. National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases said the outbreak is on the verge of a global pandemic if containment steps fail to show more success.Deaths emerged in France and Taiwan over the weekend, bringing to five the number of fatalities outside mainland China. The U.S. evacuated some passengers from a cruise ship in Japan, where 355 people have the coronavirus.New DevelopmentsChina death toll at 1,770, up 105; mainland cases rise to 70,548; 10,844 dischargedHubei adds 1,933 new cases, up from 1,843 a day earlierChina stocks rebound from selloff China, Asia Bulk Up Economy Defenses Against Virus Ahead of G-20Virus Fears Grow as Travelers on Stricken Ships Return HomeClick VRUS on the terminal for news and data on the novel coronavirus and here for maps and charts. For analysis of the impact from Bloomberg Economics, click here.Abe’s Support Slides Amid Doubts Over Virus Handling (11:35 a.m. HK)Voter support for Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe fell in three polls, with two showing public dissatisfaction over his government’s handling of the new coronavirus outbreak as new domestic cases continue to be discovered daily.Approval for Abe’s cabinet fell 5 percentage points from the previous month to 47% in a survey carried out by the Yomiuri newspaper Feb. 14-16. The survey found 52% of respondents were dissatisfied with the government’s handling of the virus outbreak.Unlike other places that have issued blanket bans on visitors from China due to the virus, Abe’s government has adopted a softer approach with Japan’s biggest trading partner by limiting the restrictions to foreigners who have been in virus epicenters, such as Wuhan. Critics have called for a bar on all visitors from China.Japan has found more than 400 cases of the virus, 355 of them among the passengers and crew from a cruise ship held in quarantine in the port of Yokohama.See full story here.Chinese Airlines See Impact from Coronavirus (11:32 a.m. HK)China’s three largest airlines reported declines in January passenger traffic because of the coronavirus outbreak, with the shortfalls likely to deepen this month as the epidemic continues to disrupt travel for millions of people.Air China Ltd.’s numbers slipped 2.9% from a year earlier, while China Southern Airlines Co.’s fell 4.6% and China Eastern Airlines Corp.’s dropped 5.4%, according to statements filed to Hong Kong’s stock exchange late last week. Airlines began suspending flights from about Jan. 23 after the government began locking down Wuhan and other Chinese cities.China Stocks Rebound From Sell-off (10:13 a.m. HK)China’s stock benchmark recouped all its losses from a record $720 billion sell-off earlier this month, a sign that investor confidence is improving after policy makers acted to ease the economic fallout from the coronavirus outbreak.The CSI 300 Index added as much as 1.2% early Monday, surpassing its 4,003.9-point close from Jan. 23, the last trading day before a Lunar New Year break. The index plunged 7.9% on Feb. 3 as Chinese markets reopened to the health crisis.To cushion the blow, China’s government has pumped cash into the financial system, trimmed money-market rates and offered targeted tax cuts. Beijing will also allow local governments to sell another 848 billion yuan ($121 billion) of debt before March, as authorities seek to offset the economic shock of the coronavirus. China said Sunday it will enact more-efficient stimulus measures despite a widening fiscal gap, including lower corporate taxes.China Home Price Growth Slows Amid Virus Spread (10:10 a.m. HK)China home prices rose at the slowest pace in almost two years in January, as sales plunged late in the month when the coronavirus outbreak worsened dramatically.Home sales “fell off a cliff” as efforts to combat the virus ramped up, said Yang Kewei, an analyst at China Real Estate Information Corp. Entire cities, including Wuhan where the virus originated, were locked down, and people restricted from returning home from Lunar New Year travels.The slowdown has probably worsened this month as the New Year holiday was extended, developers closed showrooms and more cities went into lockdown.Coronavirus Cases Top 70,000 (9:13 a.m. HK)China reported 2,048 additional coronavirus cases by the end of Feb. 16, bringing the total case count to 70,548, according to a statement from National Health Commission.China’s Hubei province reported 1,933 additional confirmed cases. While that’s slightly higher than a day earlier, it’s in line with a lower trend over the past several days. The province announced a stunning 15,000 new cases on Thursday after revising its method for counting infections.The death toll in China increased by 105 to 1,770. More than 10,000 patients have been discharged so far.There are now five fatalities outside of mainland China, after France and Taiwan reported deaths over the weekend.U.S. in Contact With Malaysia Over Westerdam Case (7:42 a.m. HK)The U.S. State Department said Sunday it’s in “close contact” with Malaysian authorities after an 83-year-old American woman fell ill with the coronavirus a day after leaving a cruise ship that showed no signs of the illness.The woman was aboard the Westerdam, which over two weeks at sea was turned away by five different ports before docking late last week in Cambodia. Passengers were screened during the trip and all results were negative. A spokesperson for the State Department said because the ship was at sea for the required 14-day quarantine, passengers were free to travel after they left.The woman, who hasn’t been identified, flew to Malaysia then showed symptoms of the virus. Malaysian authorities confirmed a positive test and the woman was taken to a hospital.The U.S. doesn’t have “sufficient evidence” to determine when she may have been exposed or where, said the spokesperson.U.S. officials are paying close attention to several cruise ships at sea during the onset and spread the virus, the spokesperson said.Hubei Province Reports 100 New Fatalities (6:54 a.m. HK)China’s Hubei reported 1,933 additional confirmed cases for Feb. 16, taking the total case count in the province to 58,182, Hubei’s health commission said in a statement.The death toll in the province rose by 100 to 1,696, while 6,639 patients have been discharged.U.S. Evacuates Cruise Passengers From Japan (6:42 a.m. HK)A pair of aircraft chartered by the State Department have taken off from Tokyo to bring back home Americans evacuated from a cruise ship in Japan, according the U.S. embassy’s website.The passengers will be kept in quarantine for 14 days, separate from other travelers who, because they visited China, are isolated at the U.S. bases.More than 40 U.S. citizens infected by the virus aboard the Diamond Princess were expected to stay behind in hospitals. A total of 355 people on the Carnival Corp. cruise have tested positive for the coronavirus.Canada is using a chartered plane to repatriate Canadians from the ship. Hong Kong also plans to send a plane for its nationals.Virus to Cause ‘Demand Shock’ for Copper (4:30 p.m. NY)Disruptions from the coronavirus and other “significant” knock-on effects will lead to a full-year demand loss for copper of 300,000 metric tons, Goldman Sachs Group Inc. said in an analysis that assumes the outbreak is contained to the first quarter.Disruptions at smelters could reduce production, partially offsetting the impact of declining demand.Read the full story here.Briton on Ship Feels ‘Forgotten’ (4:15 p.m. NY)The U.K. is ignoring British citizens trapped on the quarantined Diamond Princess in Japan as other nations charter aircraft for evacuation flights, one passenger said in a video posting.David Abel, traveling with his wife, Sally, said passengers on the ship docked in Yokohama are aware that the U.S., Canada and Italy are flying their citizens home. Passengers are getting despondent, he said.“Every country, except the U.K., has become involved and that is really wonderful,” he said in a video message on YouTube. “Can I just tell you, U.K., how this makes me really feel? It feels that we have been forgotten, that you don’t really care about us and that you’re actually not wanting us to come home.”Abel said the couple is confined to the cabin and wear a mask when they open the door. They’ve been interviewed by British TV during the ordeal. He said fewer than 80 Britons are on the ship.Separately, Australia is considering plans to bring back its citizens this week, and a decision could be made as soon as Monday, Australian Associated Press said.The ship, with 355 ill passengers, is the largest infection cluster outside China.China, Asia Bulk Up Against Virus (3 p.m. NY)China, Hong Kong and Singapore are pledging extra fiscal stimulus to counter the economic hit from the coronavirus.China will enact more-efficient stimulus measures, including lower corporate taxes. Hong Kong faces “tsunami-like” shocks that may lead to a record budget deficit. Singapore, which is losing as many as 20,000 tourists a day to travel curbs, will get a “strong” package of budget measures this week.Malaysia Says Westerdam Passengers Negative for Virus (9:42 a.m. NY)Six passengers who were quarantined after arriving in Malaysia from the Westerdam cruise ship in Cambodia have tested negative for the virus, Malaysia’s health ministry said. The two Americans and four Dutch nationals arrived on a flight with an 83-year-old woman who tested positive for the coronavirus twice after arrival.Taiwan Victim Worked as Taxi Driver (9:23 a.m. NY)The deceased was a taxi driver, Taiwan’s Centers for Disease Control said in a statement late Sunday. He carried three passengers returning to Taiwan from China, Hong Kong and Macau, who later visited doctors for respiratory symptoms. CDC is tracking the three people and all close contacts of the man who died.Hospital Head Says Coronavirus Turning Point Reached (8:45 a.m. NY)The turning point for the novel coronavirus epidemic has been reached and the number of new outbreaks is declining, the state-run China Central Television reports, citing Wang Xinghuan, head of Wuhan Leishenshan Hospital.The number of people with a fever has been sliding steadily and has never rebounded, Wang was cited as saying.Some Positive Economic Signs From Epidemic, Xinhua Says (8:05 a.m. NY)The novel coronavirus epidemic had some temporary impact on China’s economy but won’t overwhelm it, the official Xinhua News Agency said in a commentary on its website. The Chinese economy is a sea, not a small pond, it said.Taiwan Confirms First Death From Coronavirus (6:13 a.m. NY)Taiwan reported the first death from coronavirus on Sunday, and added two more confirmed cases, bringing the total to 20, according to a statement from the country’s Centers for Disease Control via text message. The man in his 60s had a history of hepatitis B and diabetes, the CDC said in a statement on its website. He went to the hospital on Feb. 3 with shortness of breath and died from pneumonia and sepsis on Feb. 15.\--With assistance from Abeer Abu Omar, Ryan Beene, Dong Lyu, Jing Jin, Cindy Wang, K. Oanh Ha, Isabel Reynolds, Tony Czuczka and April Ma.To contact Bloomberg News staff for this story: Steve Geimann in Washington at;Karen Leigh in Hong Kong at kleigh4@bloomberg.netTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Rachel Chang at, Jeff SutherlandFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.
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