Chinese restaurants clear stock to curb coronavirus losses

UNTV News   •   February 14, 2020   •   227

Wang Chuanchao was looking forward to serving customers in his restaurant during the Lunar New Year holiday, stockpiling 300,000 yuan ($42,965.17) worth of goods from celery to ox tripe.

But this week, he started selling them off in an effort to cut his losses.

Many Chinese restaurants shut operations temporarily in late January amid the outbreak of a new coronavirus epidemic that began with the country’s central city of Wuhan, after local governments put stringent curbs on travel and shut down public areas, to curb the risk of infection.

But with closures dragging on, many are now looking for ways to survive and raise cash to pay workers’ salaries.

Having noticed that many residents are struggling to purchase food, Wang organised his restaurant staff to set up temporary stands out on the road to clear their stockpile of vegetables, boxes of half-prepared ingredients and frozen meat, as well as snacks, offering the products at what he says is his cost price.

“We happen to have these goods that can be provided to meet people’s needs,” said the 32-year-old owner. “We can’t be like those people who are fighting on the front line, but we should try and do what we can to contribute to society.”

A report published this week by China Cuisine Association said the virus outbreak has erased 500 billion yuan ($7.16 bn) from the catering sector during the week-long Lunar New Year holiday, with 93 per cent of restaurants shutting down operations.

The holiday last year contributed 15.5 per cent of the industry’s total annual income, but this year 78 per cent of the restaurants it surveyed reported that they would record a loss of 100 per cent during this period.

Wang admits that he still faces huge losses, estimating that he has managed to sell 1,500 yuan ($215) worth of vegetables a day so far, far lower than the 20,000 yuan ($3,581) a day he usually brings in when the restaurant is open. (Reuters)

(Production: Thomas Suen, Irene Wang)

Filipino worker in Hong Kong tests negative of novel coronavirus

Robie de Guzman   •   February 25, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – A Filipino worker in Hong Kong who was placed under observation for contracting novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) is expected to be released within the week after testing negative of the virus, the Philippine Consulate in Hong Kong said Tuesday.

In a Facebook post, the consulate said the infection of the Filipino migrant worker is the first reported case involving a household worker in Hong Kong.

Citing a report from the Hong Kong Health Department, the Consulate two more Filipinos were released Tuesday after completing their 14-day mandatory quarantine.

There were eight Filipinos placed on quarantine for possible infection of COVID-19. Seven have so far been released.

The consulate said the remaining Filipino undergoing quarantine is healthy and asymptomatic, and will possibly be released on Friday, February 28.

As of February 24, Hong Kong has 81 confirmed coronavirus cases with two fatalities as reported by China’s National Health Commission.

The commission also said that the death toll in mainland China has reached 2,663 with confirmed infections of 77,658.

850 people infected with coronavirus in Japan

UNTV News   •   February 25, 2020

Japan confirmed ten new cases of novel coronavirus infection on Monday, driving the number of infected patients up to 850.

Of the ten infected, four were in Hokkaido and one of them a teacher. Thus the local authorities decided to suspend classes of the school where the teacher works from Tuesday to March 6.

The total confirmed cases in Tokyo Prefecture reached 32, including three new confirmed cases on Monday.

The Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare confirmed on Monday that a staff member of the Ministry and a quarantine officer who worked at the cruise ship got infected.

So far, six civil servants, two quarantine officers, three staff members of the Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare and a staffer of the Cabinet Secretariat, who worked on Diamond Princess cruise ship have been infected with the disease.

Japanese experts on Monday issued a statement saying the coming one to two weeks will be a critical time for the disease to spread rapidly or subside.

The statement also says confirmed cases without identified infection sources have emerged in several places, implying that the epidemic may speed up spreading and asks the people to avoid gathering. (CCTV via Reuters Connect)

South Korean president vows to win battle against COVID-19 during visit to Daegu

UNTV News   •   February 25, 2020

In his first visit to Daegu since the outbreak began, South Korean President Moon Jae-in said on Tuesday (February 25) that the government will “win the fight” against the coronavirus as the number of cases in the country rose to 893.

About 68 percent of South Korea’s cases have been linked to the Shincheonji Church of Jesus. Of 60 new cases reported on Tuesday, 16 were in the southeastern city of Daegu, where the church is located.

Last week the government decided to designate Daegu and neighboring Cheongdo County as “special care zones”.

Moon on Tuesday sought to reassure residents that the government was not considering locking down the area. (South Korea’s Presidential Office via Reuters Connect)

(Production: Hyunyoung Yi)

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