Chinese state media is reporting that the government pumped $129bn into the financial system today. It says the money has gone in via “reverse repos”, which is a reverse repurchase agreement. This is the purchase of securities with the agreement to sell them at a higher price at a specific future date.
A citizen journalist who had been reporting from the epicentre of the coronavirus outbreak has gone missing, prompting claims that the Chinese authorities are silencing another whistleblower.
Chen Qiushi, a human rights advocate, has been missing since Thursday – the same day Li Wenliang, a 34-year-old ophthalmologist who was punished by authorities for trying to warn colleagues and friends about a new Sars-like virus, was first reported to have died from the coronavirus.
You can see our full story here.
‘Sixty more cases’ on Japan cruise ship – reports
Sixty more cases of coronavirus have been confirmed on the Diamond princess cruise ship, domestic broadcaster TBS TV said via Twitter. NHK Japan is also saying around 60 new cases have been identified, quoting the health ministry.
That brings total cases on the ship docked in Yokohama, south of Tokyo, to 130, according to TBS.
The Mobile World Congress – the largest exhibition for the mobile phone industry – being held in Barcelona this month, has announced travellers from Hubei province will not be admitted. In addition, organisers announced that:
- All travellers from the Hubei province will not be permitted access to the event
- All travellers who have been in China will need to demonstrate proof they have been outside of China 14 days prior to the event (passport stamp, health certificate)
- Temperature screening will be implemented
- Attendees will need to self-certify they have not been in contact with anyone infected
Amazon has announced it will not attend the conference, because of coronavirus-related concerns.
Other companies believed to have pulled out include LG and Ericsson, according to Techcrunch.
China food prices spike 20.6% in January
China’s consumer prices rose at the highest rate in more than eight years, official data on Monday showed, with inflation more than expected on the back of lunar new year demand and a deadly virus outbreak.
The consumer price index (CPI), a key gauge of retail inflation, came in at 5.4% last month on-year, up from 4.5% in December – with prices of pork and fresh vegetables pushing up costs. It’s the highest CPI rise since October 2011.
The report showed that food prices spiked 20.6%, including pork which rose 116% from a year ago, up from the 97% rise in December. The on-month rise for pork was 8.5%.
“People also tend to hoard food and other supplies in this kind of situation. The hoarding will most likely push up prices,” said Lu Ting of Nomura in a research note last Thursday.
The Economist’s Simon Rabinovitch in Shanghai, has been posting some pictures about the empty streets on the day people were supposed to go back to work.
The Journal of the American Medical Association has published a report on the clinical characteristics of 138 coronavirus patients in Wuhan. It details symptoms and clinical characteristics of the virus and gives an insight into infections.
Of the 138 patients covered in the results, common symptoms included fever (99%), fatigue (70%), dry cough (60%).
Less common symptoms were headache, dizziness, abdominal pain, diarrhoea, nausea, and vomiting.
Most patients received antiviral therapy and many also received antibacterial therapy.
About a quarter of patients in the study were admitted to intensive care because of complications, including acute respiratory distress syndrome. The median time from the first symptom to shortness of breath (dyspnea) was five days, and eight days to acute respiratory symptoms.
The median hospital stay was 10 days.
The study also found that of the 138 patients, 57 were presumed to have been infected in hospital, including 17 patients (12.3%) who were already hospitalised for other reasons and 40 health care workers (29%).
This may go some way to explaining the rapid building of coronavirus-specific hospitals in Wuhan.
The report says “to our knowledge, is the largest case series to date of hospitalised patients” and was published on 3 February.
For the medically minded, I have attached the report here.
You can find our latest wrap on the coronavirus below, including the WHO’s warning that confirmed cases of coronavirus being transmitted by people who have never travelled to China could be the “tip of the iceberg”.
As people in Beijing return to work for the first time after lunar new year, state media is reporting a 50% drop in train passengers. “Those not wearing a face mask will be advised to leave the station,” CGTN says.
Normal restrictions in Beijing to limit the number of private cars on the road have been lifted temporarily, to help people avoid public transport.
The state run tabloid Global Times has published footage of Wuhan’s twice-daily disinfections, that began on Sunday.
WHO says we may only be seeing ‘tip of the iceberg’
The head of the WHO, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, says “we may only be seeing the tip of the iceberg” with regards to the spread of the coronavirus. He says the detection of a small number of cases (globally) may indicate more widespread transmission in countries outside China, adding that there have been “some concerning instances” of the virus’s spread from people with no travel history to China.
He has reiterated a point he made on Sunday – that “all countries must use the window of opportunity created by the containment strategy to prepare for the virus’s possible arrival”.
Ghebreyesus has called on all countries to share what they know “in real time with @WHO”.
Members of a WHO-led “international expert mission” flew to China on Monday to help coordinate a response to the virus outbreak.
A little bit more on the Kia announcement. It blames a shortage of parts for the suspension of production at its factories at Gwangju and Sohari on MOnday and Tuesday. It said it would monitor the availability of auto parts in order to determine whether to resume production after that.
Kia’s Hwaseong factory halted output on Monday but is expected to resume production on Tuesday.
The continued closure of Wuhan means many shops remain closed, making it harder for elderly people to shop, as this tweet from the New York Times Beijing reporter, Chris Buckley, points out.
South Korean carmaker Kia is suspending production at three factories in the country, according to Reuters. It follows Hyundai’s decision last week to suspend work at its giant plant at Ulsan, citing a shortage of parts from China.
In other markets news, the Australian dollar has risen 0.38% on signs that businesses are starting to reopen in China. The Aussie, as the currency is known, is standing at US67.01c after dipping to US66.62. The currency is seen as a proxy for the Chinese economy because of Australia’s close economic ties with China.
Looking at those figures for deaths and infections in China that we reported, I wanted to quickly look at where the suspected infections were. Of the 4,008 new cases of suspected infections, 2,272 are in Hubei province. This is 56% of suspected cases. It compares with last week as per below:
- Sunday: 3,916 suspected new cases; 2,067 in or 53% Hubei
- Saturday: 4,214 suspected new cases; 2,073 or 49% in Hubei
- Friday: 4,833 suspected new cases; 2,622 or 54% in Hubei
- Thursday: 5,328 suspected new cases; 3,230 or 60% in Hubei
- Wednesday: 3,971 suspected new cases; 1957 or 49% in Hubei
- Tuesday: 5,072 suspected new cases; 3,182 or 63% in Hubei
- Monday: 5,173 suspected new cases; 3,260 or 70% in Hubei
- Sunday: 4,562 suspected new cases; 2,606 or 57% in Hubei
Of the 97 new deaths, the overwhelming majority are in Hubei province (91), with 2 in Anhui province, 1 in Heilongjiang province, 1 in Jiangxi province, 1 in Hainan province, and 1 in Gansu province