Hong Kong markets tumble over fears of China virus
UNTV News • January 29, 2020 • 399
Asian shares erased earlier gains on Wednesday, swinging into negative territory as a spike in new Chinese virus cases sent Hong Kong stocks tumbling and fueled fears about economic impact of the outbreak.
MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan fell 0.52%. Hong Kong shares, fell 2.8% on their first session after a two-and-a-half trading day break for Lunar New Year, led by declines in financial services, real estate, and consumer goods companies.
Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam previously announced that high-speed rail services and ferries would be suspended from midnight on Thursday (January 30), and that the number of flights to mainland China would also be halved. Personal travel permits for mainland Chinese to the city would be suspended.
More than 100 people have so far died from the flu-like virus, which emerged in China’s central city of Wuhan in December. (Reuters)
Three cured coronavirus patients in south China’s Guangdong Province expressed their appreciation of beating the virus by being the first in their province to donate plasma as a treatment option for other infected patients on February 14.
Initial results have indicated the effectiveness of convalescent plasma-derived therapeutic products in curing infected patients in severe and critical conditions.
One of the donors is 48-year-old and was once in critical condition. After being cured, he found a way to give back.
“My country saved me, so I want to save more people,” said one of the donors.
The only female donor found this to be a great way to show her thanks to the medical staff that assisted in her recovery.
“People helped us a lot, so I want to give back to society. This is an important reason I donated my plasma,” said a female donor.
Based on the high demand of medical supplies to fight the coronavirus outbreak, the third donor saw a way to help his country fight against the epidemic.
“I think this is a way to contribute to society during the coronavirus outbreak,” said another young male donor.
Streets in China’s Wuhan were deserted on Thursday (February 20) after nearly a month in lockdown following a coronavirus outbreak that has now infected some 75,000 people and killed about 2,100.
Most transport in Wuhan, a city of 11 million people, has been suspended and citizens are required to stay at home.
After the city’s borders were closed on January 23 and all incoming and outgoing flights canceled, other nearby cities in Hubei province also implemented their own policies restricting the movement of people.
The lockdown now means residents cannot leave Wuhan, Huanggang, Ezhou and other cities in Hubei province. In other areas of China, such as Shanghai and Beijing, restrictions are in place for smaller communities, such as building blocks or neighborhoods.
Many cities across China have reduced public transport lines and routes, while few have closed inner-city public transport entirely.
Some communities have instituted curfews or only allow people to exit and enter at particular times. In other areas, restrictions mean only a certain number of people from a household can leave their residence at any one time.
China, where the virus emerged in December, reported a sharp drop in new cases but the data was partly attributable to a change in how it diagnoses the virus and the figures could not quell growing alarm about its spread.
China’s National Health Commission reported 1,749 new confirmed cases of coronavirus infections, the lowest daily rise since January 29, while Hubei province – the epicenter of the outbreak – reported the lowest number of new infections since February 11.
The latest figures bring the total number of cases in China to over 74,000 with 2,004 deaths, three-quarters of which have occurred in the Hubei provincial capital of Wuhan.
(Production: Thomas Suen, Fang Nanlin, Iona Serrapica)
Five new drugs are in clinical trials as researchers and Chinese authorities are launching more systematic vaccine tests for the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19), officials said Friday.
Some antiviral drugs and traditional Chinese medicines (TCM) have been proven effective in treating COVID-19 patients, Chen Shifei, deputy director of the National Medical Products Administration, told a press conference in Beijing.
“In the current clinical treatment, doctors on the frontline have incorporated a combination of pharmaceutical drugs and TCMs that are safe and effective in their medication plans. That includes some broad-spectrum antiviral drugs and Chinese patent medicines previously approved to hit the market, as well as some widely used hospital formulations. It is learned that more than 80 kinds of TCM formulations have been used in the diagnosis and treatment of patients and these medicines have proven quite effective,” he said.
While paying the utmost attention to medical safety and quality, the National Medical Products Administration has accelerated the approval procedure of new drugs, according to Chen.
“Five new drugs have entered clinical trials for COVID-19 treatment, and so far the trials are progressing smoothly,” he said but did not disclose the names of the drugs.
“We have taken precedence for innovative and generic drugs that have been thoroughly researched and listed as key projects for treating COVID-19, prioritizing their examination and approval process so that doctors can choose to use the drugs for clinical treatment on the precondition of ensuring patients’ safety,” Chen continued.
The official added that the development of vaccines is in the pipeline.
“For vaccines that are safe, effective and controllable in quality, the National Medical Products Administration will race against time to conduct technical reviews and authorize permission to let them join the fight against the viral pneumonia,” said Chen.
China has been affected by the COVID-19 epidemic since December, with the epicenter in Wuhan City in the central province of Hubei.
By the end of Thursday, the new virus had infected more than 75,400 and killed over 2,200 nationwide, while more than 18,200 have been discharged from hospital after being cured.
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