New coronavirus could hurt Chinese GDP at a bad time -- and Japan's if it spreads
Japan Times -- Jan 19
Fears are mounting that a new coronavirus identified in China may spread, not only infecting humans but also hurting the world’s second-biggest economy, which already is beset by a trade war with the United States.

A potential pandemic of the novel virus, reminiscent of the 2003 epidemic of severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS), would deal a blow to China’s tourism and retail industries, further hampering the nation’s economic growth, analysts said.

Because Japan will receive a significant number of foreign visitors for the Tokyo Summer Olympics and Paralympics, the world’s third-largest economy would also be exposed to the threat of the virus, they added.

Late last year, health authorities in Wuhan said unexplained pneumonia cases had cropped up in the city, 1,000 kilometers south of Beijing. On Jan. 9, state-run media reported a new type of coronavirus had been confirmed.

After announcing that a 61-year-old man had died from a mysterious form of pneumonia and that an outbreak within a family had been spotted, Wuhan authorities said Wednesday that the possibility cannot be ruled out that the virus is transmissible among humans.

On Thursday, a 69-year-old Wuhan man became the second reported fatality.

Thailand has detected two infections, and Japan has confirmed its first case of the disease.

Researchers said Friday that the number of infected people is likely hundreds more than officially reported. A paper published by scientists with the MRC Centre for Global Infectious Disease Analysis at Imperial College in London, which advises bodies including the World Health Organization, estimated a “total of 1,723 cases” in Wuhan as of Jan. 12.

News source: Japan Times
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