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article imageChina's economy suffers as first virus death hits Philippines

By Karen Graham     Feb 2, 2020 in Health
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.
The Philippine Department of Health is reporting a 44-year-olf man from China was admitted to the hospital on January 25, after experiencing a fever, cough, and sore throat, according to the Associated Press.
He developed severe pneumonia, and in his last few days, “the patient was stable and showed signs of improvement, however, the condition of the patient deteriorated within his last 24 hours resulting in his demise.” The man's female companion also tested positive for the coronavirus and is in the hospital in isolation.
President Rodrigo Duterte approved a temporary ban on all travelers, except Filipinos, from China and its autonomous regions. The Philippines joins the U.S., Japan, Singapore, and Australia which have imposed temporary travel restrictions on travelers from China, despite the World Health Organization saying that this would unnecessarily hurt trade and travel.
China's National Health Commission said on Sunday the number of deaths has jumped to 304, while infections within the country jumped to 14,380 as of Saturday, after their biggest daily rise, the commission added, according to Reuters.
The first death outside China from the coronavirus is a 44-year-old Chinese man from the city of Wuh...
The first death outside China from the coronavirus is a 44-year-old Chinese man from the city of Wuhan who appears to have been infected before arriving in the Philippines
Ted ALJIBE, AFP
A disaster for China's economy
Across the country, the Chinese Lunar New Year holiday has been extended well into February. Chinese officials say that annual travel crunch of millions of people returning from their hometowns to the cities is thought to pose a major threat of secondary infection.
Many businesses have closed due to authorities encouraging people to avoid public gatherings. In Wenzhou, a manufacturing hub on China's southeastern coast, government offices won't open until Feb. 9, private businesses until Feb. 17 and schools until March 1.
Similar measures are in place in the provinces and cities of Heilongjiang, Shandong, Guizhou, Hebei, and Hunan, while the major cities of Shanghai and Beijing were on indefinite leave pending developments.
China is not happy with the travel restrictions placed on the country, particularly citing the temporary U.S. travel ban. Besides hurting China's international reputation, such steps could worsen a domestic economy already growing at its lowest rate in decades.
Chinese leader Xi Jinping has his plate full - dealing with anti-government protests in the semi-autonomous Chinese city of Hong Kong, and ongoing criticism over human rights violations in the traditionally Muslim northwestern territory of Xinjiang. Added to this, China's economic growth rate has slowed, while the trade war is still going on.
China’s central bank is preparing to inject a 1.2 trillion yuan worth of liquidity into the markets on Monday when the stock markets reopen, according to The Hill, quoting Reuters.
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