Mortality Estimate at 1%; Canadian Economy Toll: Virus Update
(Bloomberg) -- The death toll from the coronavirus outbreak reached 910, higher than during SARS, and one estimate put the mortality rate from the disease at 1%. Britain reported four more cases, warned of an imminent threat to public health and tightened quarantine rules. Globally, 40,626 have been infected so far.
- China death toll at 908; confirmed cases at 40,171
- Coronavirus may soon peak in Wuhan with 500,000 people infected
- Nissan to suspend output in Kyushu auto plant, Nikkei reports
- When Coronavirus Takes Over Ship It’s Too Late to Batten Hatches
- Coronavirus Anxiety Decimates the Biggest Airshow in Asia
- Bloomberg is tracking the outbreak on the terminal and online
Canada Predicts Significant Impact From Virus (12:14 p.m. NY)
Canadian Finance Minister Bill Morneau warned the spread of the coronavirus is likely to have a “real” impact on Canada’s economy.
At a breakfast speech in Calgary, Morneau said the deadly viral outbreak that began in China is expected to have a significant effect on global growth that will spill into Canada as it disrupts tourism and supply chains, and lowers commodity prices. He said oil prices have fallen 15% as a result of reduced demand, for example.
Ford Reopens China Plants (11:30 a.m. NY)
Ford Motor Co. has resumed production at its Chinese plants, a spokesman said.
The U.S. automaker is working with its supplier partners, some of which are located in Hubei province, to assess and plan for parts supply, according to Anderson Chan, a spokesman.
Ford was among the major automakers that halted production at China plants late last month as the government extended the traditional Lunar New Year holiday by a week.
Tesla Inc. also reopened its plant near Shanghai on Monday.
Carnival Cruise Finally Finds a Port (11:30 a.m. NY)
Carnival Corp.’s Holland America Line appears to have finally found a port for its Westerdam cruise ship to disembark after reports of coronavirus on board prompted various jurisdictions to turn it away. Holland America said the reports were unfounded, but the ship has been denied debarking in Manila, Guam, and effectively from various ports in Japan.
The two-week cruise that left from Hong Kong was able to call in only one port -- Kaohsiung, Taiwan -- and authorities there cut off access part of the way through its visit. The cruise will end in Laem Chabang, Thailand, on Thursday, and guests will receive a full refund and a future cruise credit, Holland America said Monday.
NTT Docomo Pulls Out of Mobile Conference (10:55 a.m.)
Japanese carrier NTT Docomo Inc. became the latest company to pull out of the mobile industry’s most important annual gathering because of the coronavirus. Ericsson AB, Amazon.com Inc., Nvidia Corp. and Sony Corp. have already said they won’t attend MWC Barcelona, while others have reduced their presence. The biggest participants spend millions of dollars to exhibit -- money they stand to lose if they scrap their plans.
New Estimate Puts Virus Death Rate at 1% (10:37 a.m. NY)
The mortality rate from the coronavirus is an estimated 1%, researchers at the Imperial College London said in a new report that attempts to account for mild cases as well as more severe ones at the center of the outbreak in China.
Researchers have been trying to estimate how severe the virus is, and to calculate how fast it spreads as well as how many people get severe illnesses or die. In China’s Hubei province, where the outbreak began, the fatality rate may be 18% for patients with severe symptoms, the researchers calculated.
“The impact of the unfolding epidemic may be comparable to the major influenza pandemics of the twentieth century,” Neil Ferguson, an infectious disease researcher at Imperial College London, said in a statement.
The researchers said the 1% mortality rate was an estimate of what will happen once all cases are counted, and after previously undiagnosed ones drive the rate down.
Any estimates ”should be viewed cautiously” given the numerous uncertainties involved, the researchers warned in in their report. Mortality rates tend to shift in the middle of an outbreak as new and milder cases are found.
The U.K. researchers estimated that the typical time between onset of symptoms and death has been about 22 days, meaning that there may be a multiweek time lag between reporting of cases and when deaths from those cases become apparent.
Overall, the Imperial College London researchers estimated that 1.3% of Wuhan residents were infected with the virus as of Jan. 31, but only 1 in 19 of them were being tested for the virus – suggesting that the actual number of cases could be far higher than the official numbers indicate.
Toymaker: Closing May Hurt Holiday Sales (10:15 a.m. NY)
The CEO of one the world’s largest toymakers said many of its largest Chinese suppliers remain shuttered because of the coronavirus outbreak, with some pushing reopening dates back to the end of next month.
“It’s bad,” said Isaac Larian, who also founded closely held MGA Entertainment Inc. “People don’t realize. This won’t just affect the toy business; it’s going to have a major economic effect worldwide.”
While the idled factories haven’t had a major impact on MGA so far, prolonged closings could delay orders for the holiday-shopping season, according to Larian. China is by far the biggest maker of toys, with the industry’s hub in Shenzhen, and February and March is when factories do the bulk of production for Christmas goods that hit shelves beginning in late October.
U.K. Issues Tighter Quarantine Rules (9:55 a.m. NY)
Britain imposed new regulations allowing health authorities to keep individuals in quarantine if they’re considered to be at risk of infecting others. The move came as the U.K. government called the novel coronavirus a “serious and imminent” threat to public health.
The rules apply to anyone seeking to leave isolation before a 14-day quarantine is complete and will be in place for future cases, the government said Monday. Four more patients in England tested positive for the coronavirus, bringing the total number of cases in the U.K. to eight. The country has also flown back Britons from the virus epicenter of Wuhan, China, and they’re now being held in quarantine.
British Airways Extends China Flight Cancellations (6:55 a.m. NY)
British Airways extended a halt to flights to mainland China until March 31. All flights to and from Beijing and Shanghai are now canceled, while trips to Hong Kong remain unaffected. The company made the decision in line with the U.K. Foreign and Commonwealth Office’s continued advice against all but essential travel to China, according to a spokeswoman.
Foxconn Delays Return of Workers to Main IPhone Plants (6:09 a.m. NY)
Hon Hai Precision Industry Co. has told some employees at its main iPhone-making unit that it’s postponing the resumption of production. Hon Hai, known also as Foxconn, sent a message via its internal app on Sunday that it wouldn’t be able to decide on a back-to-work date “until further notice” for its iDPBG business unit, according to a version reviewed by Bloomberg News. That division makes gadgets for Apple at a factory in the so-called iPhone city of Zhengzhou and two other plants in Shenzhen.
Nissan, Jaguar Land Rover Warn of Supply-Chain Disruptions: (6:32 p.m. HK)
Jaguar Land Rover updated a presentation to investors late Sunday, saying its supply chains outside China could be impacted by the coronavirus outbreak. The luxury-car maker said on Friday that it expects the virus to affect its fiscal fourth quarter but that it’s too early to quantify.
Nissan Motor Co. is suspending work at a Japanese assembly plant for two days in the coming week because of disruption to the supply of automobile parts due to the outbreak.
GM to Restart Production in China From Feb. 15 (6:09 p.m. HK)
General Motors Co. will restart production in China from Feb. 15, according to a company representative. Plans to restart production in plants with local partners would be based on preparedness of supply chain and product inventory, Reuters reported earlier.
U.K. Confirms Four More Cases (5:49 p.m. HK)
Four further patients in England have tested positive for the coronavirus, bringing the total number of cases in the U.K. to eight. The new cases are all known contacts of a previously confirmed British case, and the virus was passed on in France.
Hong Kong’s Richest Tycoon Donates $13 Million (5:25 p.m. HK)
The Li Ka Shing Foundation donated HK$100 million ($13 million) to help Wuhan, the city at the epicenter of the outbreak. The money will be distributed via the Red Cross Society of China,
Li Ka-shing, 91, has a net worth of about $28.3 billion, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index.
Taiwan to Temporarily Ban Entry of HK, Macau Residents (5:24 p.m.)
Residents from Hong Kong and Macau are barred from entering Taiwan starting from Feb. 11 as the island tries to contain the coronavirus. Those approved for entry will be quarantined for 14 days on arrival.
Taipei-Hong Kong is one of the busiest international flight routes.
WHO Watching 10 Chinese Provinces as Possible Hot Spots (5 p.m. HK)
The World Health Organization is closely watching other Chinese regions for signs that new infection hot spots are emerging as the outbreak spreads beyond the epicenter of Hubei.
The 10 provinces, including Zhejiang, Guangdong and Henan, have seen numbers of cases slowly rise, WHO’s China representative Gauden Galea said in an interview on Bloomberg TV.
HK Loses Contact With Two People in Quarantine (4:51 p.m. HK)
The government lost contact with two people who are in mandatory quarantine and the police have issued wanted notices, Radio Television Hong Kong reported, citing Sophia Chan, the city’s secretary for food and health. A total of 1,193 are now under quarantine and 90% of them are Hong Kong residents, Chan said.
The Asian financial hub started a mandatory two-week quarantine for mainland arrivals on Saturday as it tries to contain the novel coronavirus.
Global Growth Could Stall, Capital Economics Says (4:04 p.m. HK)
The outbreak will cost the global economy more than $280 billion in the first three months of the year, putting an end to a 43-quarter global growth streak, according to Capital Economics Ltd. Based on those forecasts “global GDP will not grow in quarter-on-quarter terms for the first time since 2009,” the firm said.
U.K. Calls Coronavirus a Serious, Imminent Threat (3:34 p.m. HK)
The U.K. government is labeling the novel coronavirus a “serious and imminent threat to public health.”
Britain is enacting regulations to stem further transmission, according to the Department of Health and Social Care. The declaration of a serious and imminent threat comes alongside measures the government hopes will be an effective means of delaying or preventing further transmission.
Singapore Braces as Cases Emerge in Financial Center (3:32 p.m. HK)
Singapore’s coronavirus outbreak has spread to its financial center, with some staff at major companies being told to work from home for at least the next few days and temperature screening checkpoints set up at the front doors of several towers.
A worker at an unnamed firm in Marina Bay Financial Centre Tower 1 has been confirmed as being infected with the virus over the weekend, according to a circular to tenants by the building’s manager. Another case at nearby Clifford Centre, in the heart of the central business district, is an employee of United Industrial Corp., according to an advisory to tenants in the building where UIC is located.
Japan Cruise Ship Finds More Cases (3:25 p.m. HK)
The operator of the cruise ship quarantined off Japan confirmed more cases of coronavirus, nearly doubling to more than 130 the number of people on the vessel who have contracted the disease.
The increasing number of patients on Carnival Corp.’s Diamond Princess has raised worries about a possible spread among the people still aboard. Risks have been mounting that the virus could spread in the confined spaces of the ship, where many on board have increased vulnerability due to their advanced ages.
Airbnb Freezes Beijing Check-Ins Till March (2:19 p.m. HK)
Airbnb Inc. is suspending check-ins at all of its Beijing listings until March to comply with local regulations intended to curb the coronavirus outbreak. The San Francisco-based company said in a statement that it will offer refunds to all those affected or that cancel their bookings.
China Seeks to Minimize Impact on Foreign Investment (12:03 p.m. HK)
China’s Ministry of Commerce is seeking to minimize the impact of the coronavirus outbreak on foreign investment. The ministry will push forward foreign projects to ensure investment is implemented as planned, according to a statement. The ministry will also help foreign enterprises resume production and operations; foreign producers of masks and other protective wear are urged to resume output quickly.
Fallout May Be Just Beginning for Tech Firms (11:28 a.m. HK)
As Chinese-based manufacturers begin to restart factories Monday, no one knows for sure when they’ll be back at full speed -- or what sort of chaos may ensue.
Tech producers led by Foxconn, which makes the majority of the world’s iPhones a few hundred miles from the coronavirus outbreak’s epicenter, had begun preparing investors for the potential bedlam when hundreds of thousands make their way back to factories. Apple Inc.’s most important partner warned investors of the daunting task of securing enough workers despite widespread transport blockades, quarantining thousands, and the “nightmare” scenario of an on-campus epidemic that could shut down production altogether.
Experts Get Creative in Measuring Economic Blow (9:29 a.m. HK)
Economists are grappling with ways to gauge the real-time impact of the coronavirus on the world economy, even as the outbreak continues to confound forecasters. Store closures, flight-tracking websites, factory shutdowns and the latest numbers on infections and fatalities are just some of the high-frequency data points economists are scouring for clues on the hit to growth.
“To track the impact of the virus on the global economy, we have had to look at indicators I have never looked at before in my 25 years of doing macroeconomic forecasting,” said Torsten Slok, chief economist for Deutsche Bank AG.
WHO Chief Concerned Over Virus Spread (6:35 a.m. HK)
WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said in a tweet that there have been concerning instances of coronavirus being spread from people with no travel history to China, saying “we may only be seeing the tip of the iceberg” when it comes to the virus.
“The detection of a small number of cases may indicate more widespread transmission in other countries,” he said in the tweet.
He called on countries to step up efforts to prepare for the coronavirus’s possible arrival. Donors have contributed toward the WHO’s efforts and those directed at vulnerable countries, he said, but the organization hasn’t reached its goal of $675 million to fight the outbreak.
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