Coronavirus on the move . . .
The Lunar New Year holiday season will begin tomorrow amidst scares of a new and spreading virus. In December, a virus jumped from animals to humans at a market in the city of Wuhan, China. Chinese authorities and the World Health Organization (WHO) confirmed that it is a new type of coronavirus that produces pneumonia-like symptoms similar to the SARS pandemic in 2002-03. With infections now spreading between people and within hospitals, the virus has killed at least 26 people and infected nearly a thousand in Asia and beyond.
Travel bans, cancelled celebrations . . .
Since January 1, the deadly virus has spread beyond Wuhan, with restrictions affecting at least 35 million people now in place across 12 Chinese cities. Cases have also been reported in Japan, Singapore, South Korea, Taiwan, Thailand, Vietnam, the U.S., and France. The situation in Wuhan has grown concerning enough for Chinese authorities to announce a city-wide travel ban, stopping air, train, and ferry travel outside the city. These measures, along with cancelled holiday celebrations and entertainment events, are also taking a toll on businesses and the economy.
The world’s largest travel season . . .
Lunar New Year holidays and celebrations take place in China and a number of other Asian countries including South Korea, Vietnam, Laos, and Singapore, making it the world’s largest travel season. During the SARS era there were some 30 million overseas new year holiday travellers from Asia; that number has since grown to more than 150 million per year. With the virus moving in the direction of a pandemic, many travel hubs and hospitals around the world have begun stepping up precautions.
- Caixin: Wuhan Virus Latest: China Reports First Deaths Outside Epicenter of Outbreak
- The New York Times: Coronavirus Is Spreading, but W.H.O. Says It’s Not a Global Emergency
- South China Morning Post: China coronavirus: 25 dead, while eight cities now on lockdown