By Jaimy Lee
Beijing criticized Washington's order barring entry to most foreigners who visited China
China's death toll from a new virus rose to 259 on Saturday and a World Health Organization official said other governments need to prepare for"domestic outbreak control" if the disease spreads in their countries.
Meanwhile, Beijing criticized Washington's order barring entry to most foreigners who visited China in the past two weeks.
Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison announced similar measures on Saturday, following Japan and Singapore.
Meanwhile, South Korea and India flew hundreds of their citizens out of Wuhan, the city at the center of an area where some 50 million people are prevented from leaving in a sweeping anti-virus effort. The evacuees went into a two-week quarantine. Indonesia also sent a plane.
The number of confirmed cases in China rose to 11,791, surpassing the number in the 2002-03 outbreak of SARS, or Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome. The virus's rapid spread in two months prompted the World Health Organization on Thursday to declare it a global emergency.
That declaration "flipped the switch" from a cautious attitude earlier to recommending governments prepare for the possibility the virus might spread, said the WHO representative in Beijing, Gauden Galea. Most cases reported so far have been people who visited China or their family members.
The agency acted out of concern for poorer countries that might not be equipped to respond, said Galea. Such a declaration calls for a coordinated international response and can bring more money and resources.
WHO said it was especially concerned that some cases abroad involved human-to-human transmission.
"Countries need to get ready for possible importation in order to identify cases as early as possible and in order to be ready for a domestic outbreak control, if that happens," Galea told The Associated Press.
President Donald Trump's coronavirus task force on Friday announced a series of actions aimed at stemming the spread of the coronavirus outbreaks, including declaring a public-health emergency in the U.S.
The task force also said that starting Feb. 2, all returning U.S. citizens who traveled to Hubei Province, China, over the last 14 days will undergo mandatory quarantine for 14 days (link). Wuhan City, reportedly the epicenter of the viral outbreak, is in that Chinese province.
The task force also said that the U.S. will no longer allow foreign nationals who have traveled in China over the past 14 days and "pose a risk" at spreading the virus into the U.S., according to remarks made by Alex Azar, secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services. Immediate family members of U.S. citizens and permanent residents who have traveled to the area, will face the quarantines.
Earlier Friday, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said that the 195 U.S. citizens who were repatriated from Wuhan earlier this week have now been placed in federal quarantine over concerns about the coronavirus outbreak.
It is the first time that the CDC has issued a quarantine in 50 years, according to comments made by Nancy Messonnier, director of the Center for the National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases. The patients are at March Air Reserve Base in Riverside County, Calif. Health officials said one individual tried to leave but remains on the base.
Several countries including Singapore and the U.S. are implementing stronger travel recommendations and border closures in light of the WHO's declaration of a public-health emergency of international concern and a surge in coronavirus cases world-wide.
The State Department on Friday told Americans not to travel to China, in a Level 4 warning, which is its highest level. Singapore said that starting Feb. 1, no visitors who have traveled to mainland China within the last 14 days will be allowed to enter the country or travel through it. Mongolia and Russia have reportedly closed (link) borders, and Pakistan banned all flights (link) to and from mainland China.
Starting on Feb. 2, incoming U.S.-bound flights from China will be directed to seven airports: John F. Kennedy International, Chicago's O'Hare International, San Francisco International, Seattle--Tacoma International, Hartsfield--Jackson Atlanta International, Los Angeles International, and Honolulu's Official Daniel K. Inouye International airports
"We worry that the market underappreciates the duration of this crisis in China," Raymond James' Chris Meekins, a former official for the Department of Health and Human Services, wrote in a Jan. 30 note. "We believe the travel advisories are likely to continue for the next few months."
Some cash-hungry biotechs are tapping the crisis to raise money: At least a dozen small companies have disclosed plans to pursue development of vaccines, diagnostics and antiviral therapeutics that may be used to prevent or treat the coronavirus. At least half a dozen companies have announced plans to start coronavirust-related development over the last two weeks, including Co-Diagnostics Inc. (CODX), Inovio Pharmaceuticals Inc.(INO), NanoViricides Inc. (NNVC), and Moderna. Inc. (MRNA)(MRNA)
Airlines are under pressure: The American Airlines Group Inc. (AAL) on Friday announced it was suspending flights to mainland China. The news came after American Airlines pilots on Thursday filed a lawsuit against the airline, seeking to halt flights between the U.S. and China, over concerns about the coronavirus outbreak. A number of airlines including British Airways PLC and Delta Air Lines Inc. (DAL) have halted flights between the U.S. and China. Others including United Airlines Holdings Inc. (UAL) have suspended some flights.
Corporations with exposure in China weigh impact on revenue, supply chain: The Coca-Cola Co. (KO) CEO James Quincey told investors during a Jan. 30 earnings call that the outbreak of severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) in 2003 and 2004 was less of a concern than this coronavirus. The Chinese market makes up 10% of Coca-Cola's global volume. "China's economy was in a different place when SARS happened," he said. "It's worth noting that China's economy is much bigger and this could become more connected to the rest of the world." Levi Strauss & Co.'s (LEVI) plans to push growth in China in 2020 were slowed in January by the outbreak, according to president and CEO Charles Victor Bergh. How the outbreak will impact global supply chains is also a concern for Honeywell International Inc. (HON), Johnson Controls International PLC (JCI), and ResMed Inc. (RMD), according to FactSet transcripts of comments made by their executives during earnings calls. "There could be some supply chain disruptions," Johnson Controls CEO George Oliver told investors.
Read more about the coronavirus outbreak:
CDC 'not recommending' Americans use face masks to prevent coronavirus (link)
-Jaimy Lee; 415-439-6400; AskNewswires@dowjones.com
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02-01-20 1059ETCopyright (c) 2020 Dow Jones & Company, Inc.