Latest on the coronavirus spreading in China and beyond

February 3, 2020 - 8:37 AM
A sign is posted on a medical supply store that says surgical and N95 masks are already out of stock, in Manila,
A sign is posted on a medical supply store that says surgical and N95 masks are already out of stock, in Manila, Philippines, January 31, 2020. (Reuters/Eloisa Lopez)

China ramped up measures to contain the coronavirus epidemic and shore up an economy hit by travel curbs and business shut-downs on Sunday as the first death from the illness was reported outside the country.

Here are the latest developments:

* A 44-year-old Chinese man traveled to the Philippines and died on Saturday in a hospital in Manila, the Philippines Department of Health said.

* His death brought the total death toll to 305. All the other people died in mainland China.

* Across China, 2,590 new infections were confirmed on Saturday, the largest daily increase, bringing the total to 14,380, according to the country’s National Health Commission.

* Infections have also been reported in more than two dozen other countries and territories, including Australia, Britain, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Japan, Russia, Spain, Thailand and the United States.

* China’s central bank said it would inject 1.2 trillion yuan ($173.8 billion) worth of liquidity into markets via reverse repo operations on Monday as the country prepares to reopen its stock markets after an extended Lunar New Year holiday.

* The government said it will help firms that produce vital goods resume work as soon as possible.

* Chinese data suggest the virus is less deadly than the 2002-03 outbreak of Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS), which killed nearly 800 people of the some 8,000 it infected.

* The World Health Organization has declared the outbreak a public health emergency of international concern, but said global trade and travel restrictions are not needed.

* However airlines have suspended or scaled back direct flights to China’s major cities.

* The United States, Australia, Singapore, New Zealand and Vietnam are among countries that have denied entry to foreign nationals who have recently been in China.

* The United States has reported its first case of person-to-person transmission inside its territory. Germany, Japan, Thailand, Vietnam and South Korea have recorded similar infections, suggesting greater potential for spreading.

* China’s central city of Wuhan and the surrounding province of Hubei – the centre of the epidemic – are under a virtual quarantine. ($1 = 6.9040 Chinese yuan renminbi)—Compiled by Lincoln Feast; Editing by Christopher Cushing and Andrew Heavens