A visual guide to this outbreak
Key maps and graphics explaining how the Covid-19 virus has spread and how it is being dealt with.

Source: BBC News - China | 26 Feb 2020 | 6:07 am

Hong Kong to give cash gift of $1,200 to residents
Officials hope it will boost spending as the city's economy struggles after a tumultuous year.

Source: BBC News - China | 26 Feb 2020 | 1:48 am

Coronavirus: Chinese workers offered free transport
Planes, trains and buses are being put on to help Chinese workers quickly return to factories.

Source: BBC News - China | 25 Feb 2020 | 11:47 pm

Uighur mother makes plea to join Australian husband
Nadila Wumaier denies Chinese official's claims that she is free to leave house arrest.

Source: BBC News - China | 25 Feb 2020 | 2:24 pm

Yoga mat, condom sales soar online
AS the coronavirus epidemic keeps millions of Chinese stuck at home, they’re shopping online to stave off boredom with games for Nintendo’s Switch console, yoga mats, books and condoms all showing big jumps in orders. Many malls and stores remain shut and sales of cars and smartphones are crumbling, but demand for health, entertainment and cosmetics products is buoyant, according to data from e-commerce giant Alibaba Group — a potential boon for popular brands such as Lululemon and L’Oreal. Nintendo’s Ring Fit Adventure game for the Switch console, which combines exercise and role playing, has been a star performer, with sales more than quadrupling in the two weeks to February 20 compared to normal levels, according to Alibaba. “No medicine really functions against the virus so far. All you can count on is your own health,” said Guo Yan, a 38-year-old office employee who recently bought the game. “I want to exercise at home to be healthy and fit.” Sales of yoga mats and rowing machines have also soared, up 250 percent during a two-week period in February from a year earlier, it said, while sales of books jumped 60 percent on Alibaba’s Tmall marketplace in the week beginning on February 10 compared with the previous week. Perhaps counterintuitively as authorities have now imposed rules that masks be worn outdoors, lipstick sales were up sevenfold for some brands while sales of eyeshadow palettes increased 150 percent, according to Alibaba. It did not specify the timeframe for the sales jumps or the brands. Lu Zhenwang, CEO of Shanghai-based Wanqing Consulting, says that while overall e-commerce volumes have fallen during the outbreak, there were some stand out exceptions like yoga mats and cosmetics. “People now have large amount of time and they are bored at home,” he said, adding that women were taking the opportunity to practice their makeup skills. Other Chinese e-commerce sites also had some non-traditional goods among their best-seller rankings. Pinduoduo noted that hair cutting kits and condoms were among its most ten most popular items, while JD.com said sales of baking and roasting equipment had risen 7 times. In South Korea, which has seen a surge in coronavirus cases, orders for health-related items such as red ginseng, probiotics and vitamins rose 143 percent during the first 20 days of February year on year, according to Lotte Home Shopping. Sales of small washing machines have also jumped as people avoid laundromats, up more than sixfold during February 1-19 compared to the same period last month, according to Korean supermarket chain Homeplus Co Ltd. The bigger picture for consumer spending is, however, bleak as the outbreak keeps large parts of China’s population either in quarantine or simply discourages people from venturing outside. Many businesses have yet to get back up to full speed as quarantine and travel restrictions cause shortages of both workers and supplies.

Source: Shanghai Daily: Nation | 25 Feb 2020 | 11:05 am

‘Patient one’ in town battling coronavirus
FOR the first time in her 33 years of life, “Li Yezi” felt her family’s every move was the talk of the town. Li and her mother became two of the only three confirmed cases of novel coronavirus in her small home county with a population of 400,000 in north China’s Shanxi Province since the epidemic broke out in the city of Wuhan. Li, who works in Wuhan and returned on the Spring Festival holiday, was “patient one” in their town. “Our conditions were labeled as almost the top priority on the county authorities’ agenda list,” Li said. Li came back to her home county from Wuhan on January 19. “There had been pneumonia cases of unknown cause at that time in Wuhan, signs of the epidemic,” she recalled, adding that she did not take it so seriously, like most Wuhan citizens. The whole county was immersed in a festive atmosphere when Li arrived. “Yet they had no idea that I had, unfortunately, brought the virus back,” Li said, unaware at the time that she had been infected. She began to show symptoms a couple of days later, starting with a slight fever. She got no better after taking some medicine, and decided to get an injection at a clinic. Li put on a mask before going out since she remembered Zhong Nanshan, a renowned respiratory expert, had confirmed human-to-human transmission of the novel coronavirus. “When I think about it now, my act at that time might have reduced the risk of spreading the virus to others,” she said. Li started to realize that things were getting serious on the morning of January 23 when Wuhan shut down all public transport and outbound channels, suspecting herself of being infected and afraid that she had already infected her family. She went to the county hospital, told the doctor about her travel history, and was diagnosed as a suspected case by experts in the province before tested positive the next day. “Someone asked my classmates about my situation less than two hours after my infection was confirmed,” said Li, who was then transferred to a designated hospital. Her mother was later diagnosed with coronavirus infection and placed in Li’s ward. Li’s father was quarantined and had some problems with his chest radiography, but coronavirus infection was later ruled out. She received a WeChat message from her younger brother, saying all the family members she had contact with were quarantined and the community she lived in was sealed off. It was a seismic shock for the county headquarters for epidemic prevention and control, which immediately took a series of strict measures including implementing traffic control, canceling gatherings and screening out those who came back from Wuhan. “It seemed to me that the escalation of preventive measures had something to do with my family,” Li said, never thinking that the fate of her and her home county would be so closely intertwined. The mother and daughter received a lot of encouragement from doctors and friends. Li said she was also given pep talks on WeChat by her classmates she had not heard from in years. After receiving treatment for about two weeks, Li recovered and was discharged from hospital. Her mother was discharged four days later. Her father joked he had almost become an “online celebrity.” “He also realizes we have brought a lot of trouble to people in our county, and is thinking about doing something in return,” Li said.

Source: Shanghai Daily: Nation | 25 Feb 2020 | 11:05 am

Qingdao orders quarantine of 14 days for all fresh arrivals
THE eastern Chinese city Qingdao is imposing a 14-day quarantine on all arrivals, state media reported yesterday, as China moves to address the threat of a rise in coronavirus cases in neighboring South Korea and Japan. People with virus symptoms arriving in Qingdao, a major Northeast Asian transport hub in Shandong Province, should be isolated in designated hospitals, while others are required to stay at their residences or designated hotels, Xinhua said. The rule came into force on Monday, Xinhua added, citing a local government statement. Another Shandong city Weihai said it would quarantine arrivals from Japan and South Korea from yesterday — the first country-specific compulsory quarantine requirement by China. South Korea confirmed 84 more new cases of COVID-19 yesterday, bringing the total number of infections in the country to 977, according to Korea’s Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Yesterday, 144 new cases were reported, with 116 from Daegu City. South Korea has reported 11 deaths and almost 1,000 infections, while Japan has 159 confirmed cases. South Korean manufacturers will be allowed to export only up to 10 percent of the masks they produce each day. Weihai is also home to a sizeable Korean expatriate community. It lies near the eastern tip of the Shandong peninsula across the Yellow Sea from South Korea, and its quarantine rules apply both to Chinese and foreign nationals arriving in the city. They will be put up in hotels free of charge for a 14-day quarantine period, according to a notice on the city’s official WeChat account. People who arrived in Weihai from South Korea or Japan from February 10 have already been contacted by the Weihai government, the statement said, adding it had “appropriately handled” cases of fever. The government of a third Shandong port city Yantai yesterday said all business travelers and short-term visitors should stay in designated hotels. Further north in China’s Liaoning Province is tightening screening of inbound passengers and will check the temperature of all arrivals, state broadcaster CCTV reported. South Korean President Moon Jae-in said yesterday that his administration will spare no effort in containing the spread of the virus during his first visit to Daegu since the outbreak. Moon added that there should be a “clear turning point this week in the upward trend of the number of confirmed patients,” reported the Yonhap news agency. South Korea’s Ministry of Food and Drug Safety reported yesterday daily production of face masks has reached 11 million. That is double the rate of the previous two weeks.

Source: Shanghai Daily: Nation | 25 Feb 2020 | 11:05 am

New measures unveiled to mitigate virus impact on economy
THE State Council, China’s cabinet, yesterday unveiled a string of measures to reduce the impact of the novel coronavirus epidemic on the economy, including facilitating the employment of college graduates and rural migrant workers, offering financial support to micro-, small- and medium-sized enterprises and solving the difficulties of self-employed persons. Commercial banks are encouraged to step up lending to small firms and push lending rates significantly lower as well as delaying interest payment for eligible firms until June 30, CCTV reported. “China will increase the yuan re-lending and re-discount quota by 500 billion yuan (US$71.30 billion) to support small and medium banks,” the State Council added. “VAT will be exempted for small businesses in Hubei Province from March to end of May.”

Source: Shanghai Daily: Nation | 25 Feb 2020 | 11:05 am

China to support vulnerable countries
CHINA will provide support within its capacity to countries with weaker health systems to help them strengthen their epidemic prevention and control capabilities, a foreign ministry spokesperson said yesterday. Zhao Lijian made the remarks when asked to comment on a statement by World Health Organization Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus at a meeting of African Union health ministers on Saturday. Tedros said the WHO is still worried about the spread of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) in countries with weaker health systems and called on the international community to support the most vulnerable nations. Since the outbreak, the Chinese government has taken the most comprehensive, stringent and thorough prevention and control measures, which have achieved remarkable effects, Zhao said. Quoting Tedros, Zhao said that China’s effective measures have contained the spread of the virus inside China and to other countries, providing time for the world to prepare for the epidemic. African countries have provided precious support and assistance to China after the epidemic despite their limited resources, the spokesperson said. Noting that the 36th Ordinary Session of the AU Executive Council and the AU Peace and Security Council Meeting have issued communiques in support of China’s efforts to curb the spread of the novel coronavirus, Zhao said the meeting of health ministers of AU member states also praised China’s anti-epidemic measures. “Africa stands with China in times of adversity. This is a perfect demonstration of a community with a shared future for mankind,” he added. China will continue to implement the results of the Belt and Road construction and the outcomes of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation Beijing Summit, and provide support within its capacity to countries with weaker health systems to help them strengthen their epidemic prevention and control capabilities.

Source: Shanghai Daily: Nation | 25 Feb 2020 | 11:05 am

Top restaurant with no diners still packed out
WHILE there were no diners at the hall, the kitchen of a famous restaurant in east China’s Anhui Province was bustling, as chefs wearing masks were busy cooking and delivery staff were packing the meals quickly. “Our restaurant remained closed due to the novel coronavirus outbreak. We established four WeChat groups for our customers and cooperated with the online food delivery platform Meituan Dianping to offer takeout service,” said Fang Xiaoming, manager of the restaurant. As businesses remain shuttered in many cities and people have been confined to their homes either by choice or order to curb the spread of the epidemic, online services backed by big data, artificial intelligence and modern logistics are lending a hand. Lin Meng, a millennial living in Hefei, capital of Anhui, purchases all fresh food on the e-commerce platform Taobao.com. “The online supermarket has abundant products, and they can be delivered to your doorstep soon after you complete the payment,” she said. According to a report released by Meituan Dianping on February 19, the sales of various ingredients including vegetables, meat and seafood surged 200 percent month on month, while leafy vegetables were top-sellers with a total sale of over 8.1 million. Cooped up at home amid the sudden outbreak, many Chinese are rolling up their sleeves and starting a new career in the kitchen. Thanks to online services, people are turning their living rooms and bedrooms into offices, classrooms and even museums and clinics. Mukun Technology Co Ltd, a company focusing on smart campuses, said it had made full use of video conferences after its staff started to work online since January 25. “By working from home, the operating costs including heating and electricity can be lowered by 30 percent,” said Sun Shuhui, chairman of the company.

Source: Shanghai Daily: Nation | 25 Feb 2020 | 11:05 am

Gui Minhai: Hong Kong bookseller gets 10 years jail
Gui Minhai, who has Swedish citizenship, has published books on the personal lives of Chinese leaders.

Source: BBC News - China | 25 Feb 2020 | 3:16 am

Coronavirus: World must prepare for pandemic, says WHO
But the UN health body says the coronavirus outbreak does not yet meet the criteria for a pandemic.

Source: BBC News - China | 24 Feb 2020 | 9:12 pm

Coronavirus: The race to find the source in wildlife
From animals to humans, how did the deadly coronavirus make the leap? We look at the scientific evidence.

Source: BBC News - China | 24 Feb 2020 | 7:09 pm

'I'm not leaving China without my dog'
A Ukrainian woman has told the BBC why she decided to decline evacuation and stay in the coronavirus stricken Chinese city of Wuhan.

Source: BBC News - China | 24 Feb 2020 | 1:40 pm

Top legislature bans wildlife consumption, illegal trade
China yesterday declared an immediate and “thorough” ban on the trade and consumption of wild animals, a practice believed responsible for the deadly novel coronavirus outbreak.The Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress, or China’s top legislature, yesterday adopted a decision on thoroughly banning the illegal trading of wildlife and banishing the consumption of wild animals to safeguard people’s lives and health.The move also aims to safeguard biological and ecological security and effectively prevent major public health risks.The coronavirus epidemic had highlighted “the prominent problem of excessive consumption of wild animals, and the huge hidden dangers to public health and safety,” China Central Television said.Health officials have said that the virus likely emerged from a market in the central city of Wuhan that sold wild animals as food.According to a price list that circulated on China’s Internet, one of the merchants at the market in Wuhan, the virus epicenter, sold a vast menagerie of animals, including civets, rats, snakes, giant salamanders and live wolf pups.The coronavirus has killed 2,592 people in China and infected some 77,000 others.It has also infected people in at least two dozen other countries and regions, killing nearly 30, and its rapid global spread has raised fears of a full-blown pandemic.The consumption of terrestrial wild animals “of important ecological, scientific and social value” that are under state protection, as well as other terrestrial wild animals, including those that are bred or reared in captivity, shall be thoroughly prohibited, according to the decision.The hunting, trading and transportation of terrestrial wild animals that naturally grow and breed in the wild for the purpose of consumption shall also be completely prohibited.The decision stipulates that illegal consumption and trade of wildlife shall be severely punished.Those who, in violation of the law on the protection of wildlife and other relevant laws and regulations, hunt, trade, transport or eat wild animals shall be given heavier penalties on the basis of existing laws and regulations, according to the decision.Acts of consuming wild animals illegally and of hunting, trading or transporting wild animals for the purpose of consumption, which are newly covered by the decision, shall entail punishment applicable to similar acts covered by China’s existing laws, including the law on the protection of wildlife.The decision also stipulates that the use of wild animals for non-edible purposes, including scientific research, medical use and display, shall be subject to strict examination, approval and quarantine inspection procedures in accordance with relevant regulations.The decision demands governments at various levels strengthen supervision and inspection, and strictly investigate and punish violations of the decision and relevant laws and regulations.Illegal business sites and illegal business operators shall be banned or shut down in accordance with laws.The decision takes effect on the day of its promulgation. Previous temporary bans have been put in place, including after the SARS (Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome) virus killed hundreds of people in China in 2002-03 and was also traced to wild animal consumption.There already are laws in place against the wildlife trade. But conservationists say enforcement is episodic or just plain lax.After the epidemic began exploding across the country, China late last month ordered a temporary ban “until the national epidemic situation is over.”Health experts warn that transporting, butchering and consuming wild species poses a significant and growing public health risk by exposing humans to dangerous animal-borne pathogens.The exact source of the novel coronavirus remains unconfirmed, with scientists variously speculating it originated in bats, pangolins, or some other mammal.

Source: Shanghai Daily: Nation | 24 Feb 2020 | 11:00 am

New date as annual sessions shelved
China’s top legislature, the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress, met yesterday and voted to adopt a decision to postpone this year’s NPC annual session, saying a new date will be decided later.The third annual session of the 13th NPC, one of China’s biggest political events, was originally planned to open on March 5 in Beijing. Preparations for the session were on.Li Zhanshu, China’s top legislator, chaired the meeting and said that it was decided to postpone the annual session of the 13th NPC after careful consideration.According to Li, the reason for the postponement is to implement the arrangements made by the Communist Party of China Central Committee on coordinating the control of the coronavirus outbreak and economic and social development, and protect people’s lives, health and safety.The proposal, made by the Council of Chairpersons of the NPC Standing Committee which met last Monday, decided that it is necessary to postpone the annual legislative session to allow efforts to be concentrated on containing the epidemic.The second session of the 13th NPC in 2019 was attended by 2,975 deputies. Generally, each congress is elected for a term of five years and a session is held each year. Many deputies, including leading officials at the municipal and provincial levels and other fields, are fighting the epidemic at the frontlines.On the same day, the Council of Chairpersons of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference also recommended a delay of the third session of its 13th National Committee which was originally planned to open on March 3.At a recent meeting, the Chairpersons’ Council studied matters related to postponing the annual session.The postponement of the annual session will allow CPPCC organizations at all levels and all political advisers to engage in the fight against the epidemic, according to the meeting.

Source: Shanghai Daily: Nation | 24 Feb 2020 | 11:00 am

39 suspects arrested in Jiangxi police action
Police in east China’s Jiangxi Province have busted dozens of wildlife crimes and arrested 39 suspects, involved in the trading of 819 wild animals and 100.6 kilograms of illegal products, since the novel coronavirus outbreak, officials said at a press conference yesterday. Since the novel coronavirus outbreak, Jiangxi has launched a crackdown on wildlife trading and other illegal activities that endanger wild animal resources. Local authorities in the province are also required to intensify surveillance on wildlife epidemic diseases at local markets and breeding grounds. The Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress, or China’s top legislature, adopted a decision during a session yesterday thoroughly banning the illegal trading of wildlife and eliminating the consumption of wild animals to safeguard people’s lives and health.

Source: Shanghai Daily: Nation | 24 Feb 2020 | 11:00 am

World ‘in debt’ to China for rapid response
ITALY, South Korea and Iran reported sharp rises in coronavirus infections yesterday, but China eased curbs as the rate of new infections fell and a visiting World Health Organization team reported steep declines in visits to clinics. The virus has put Chinese cities into lockdown in recent weeks, but China’s actions, especially in the city of Wuhan, the center of the outbreak, had probably prevented hundreds of thousands of cases, the head of the WHO delegation in China, Bruce Aylward, said, urging the rest of the world to learn the lesson of acting fast. “The world is in your debt,” Aylward said in Beijing, addressing the people of Wuhan. “The people of that city have gone through an extraordinary period and they’re still going through it.” Excluding Hubei, China’s mainland reported 11 new cases, the lowest since the national health authority started publishing nationwide daily figures on January 20. The coronavirus has infected nearly 77,000 people and killed more than 2,500 in China, most in Hubei. But there was a measure of relief as more than 20 province-level jurisdictions, including Beijing and Shanghai, reported zero new infections, the best showing since the outbreak began. Outside China, the spread of the virus in other parts of the world has accelerated over the past week. South Korea reported 231 new cases, taking its total to 833. Many are in its fourth-largest city, Daegu, which became more isolated with Asiana Airlines and Korean Air suspending flights there until next month. Authorities in Hong Kong announced that from today it would not allow arrivals from South Korea other than returning residents. Eight people have died from the virus there, and President Moon Jae-in over the weekend raised the country’s virus alert to the highest “red” level. As part of the containment efforts, school holidays were extended nationally while the 2.5 million people of Daegu were told to remain indoors. Iran, which announced its first two cases last Wednesday, said it now has 61 cases and 12 deaths. Most of the infections were in the Shi’ite Muslim holy city of Qom. Elsewhere in the Middle East, Bahrain and Iraq reported their first cases and Kuwait reported three cases involving people who had been in Iran. Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Iraq, Turkey, Pakistan and Afghanistan imposed restrictions on travel and immigration from Iran. Afghanistan also reported its first case, officials said. Europe’s biggest outbreak is in Italy, with some 150 infections — compared with just three before Friday — and a sixth death. The famed Venice Carnival was cut short, and some Milan Fashion Week runway shows were canceled. More than 50,000 people in about a dozen northern Italian towns have been told to stay home, and police set up checkpoints to enforce a blockade. Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte has said that residents could face weeks of lockdown. Austria briefly suspended train services over the Alps from Italy after two travelers coming from Italy showed symptoms of fever. Both tested negative for the new coronavirus but Austrian Interior Minister Karl Nehammer said a task force would meet on Monday to discuss whether to introduce border controls. President Xi Jinping urged businesses to get back to work, although he said the epidemic was still “severe and complex, and prevention and control work is in the most difficult and critical stage.” Xi said the outbreak would have a relatively big, but short-term, impact on the economy.

Source: Shanghai Daily: Nation | 24 Feb 2020 | 11:00 am

Coronavirus: North Korea quarantines foreigners
Meanwhile, South Korea has quarantined 7,700 troops after an outbreak in the military.

Source: BBC News - China | 24 Feb 2020 | 2:58 am

Coronavirus credit crunch hits millions of Chinese firms
Prolonged shutdowns for businesses in China are bringing many firms to the brink of collapse.

Source: BBC News - China | 23 Feb 2020 | 11:06 pm