Coronavirus updates: Hong Kong closes most border crossings with mainland China, death toll at 361

By Mark
2 weeks ago
51
Health

 

A woman wears a protective mask to prevent the spread of the SARS-like virus as she walks outside of the Forbidden city (back) after a snowfall in Beijing on February 2, 2020.

Nicolas Asfouri | AFP | Getty Images

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All times below in Beijing time.

7:40 pm: Coronavirus control reportedly identified as China's most important task

Chinese President Xi Jinping has recognized coronavirus control as the most important task facing the world's second-largest economy, Reuters reported Monday, citing state media. 

China's National Health Commission confirmed on Monday that there have been 17,205 cases of the coronavirus in the country, with 361 deaths.

Market participants also continue to closely monitor the potential economic fallout of the virus, with mainland Chinese markets plunging on their return from the extended Lunar New Year holiday on Monday. (See 3:15 p.m. update).

6:40 pm: WHO chief says travel restrictions are unnecessary amid coronavirus outbreak

The World Health Organization's (WHO) Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus has reaffirmed the health agency's view that there is no need to impose restrictions that "unnecessarily" interfere with international travel and trade.

He told the WHO's executive board on Monday that "global collectiveness is a weakness" as the coronavirus continues to spread "but it is also our greatest strength."

Tedros said there have been 151 coronavirus cases in 23 countries outside of China.

5:50 pm: Hong Kong closes majority of border crossings with mainland China

Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam announced Monday that the city would suspend 10 out of a possible 13 border crossings with mainland China in an effort to curb the fast-spreading coronavirus.

Thousands of medical workers in Hong Kong went on strike starting Monday to compel the city's government to accede to a demand for a complete shutdown of its borders with mainland China to keep out the spread of the virus. (See 12 p.m. update).

Lam said Monday that the medical worker strike was putting patients at risk, describing the move as "extremely mean."

The city's chief executive has previously said a complete border shutdown with mainland China would be "discriminatory."

5:40 pm: G-7 health ministers to hold meeting to discuss coronavirus on Monday

Italy's health ministry has confirmed health ministers from the Group of Seven (G-7) will discuss the coronavirus outbreak in a teleconference call at 10 p.m. Beijing time (2 p.m. London time) on Monday.

The G-7 group comprises Britain, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan and the United States.

It comes shortly after China's National Health Commission reported 361 people in the country had died as a result of the virus.

4:45 pm: Russia says foreign nationals found with coronavirus may be deported

Russian Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin said Monday that foreign nationals found to be infected with the coronavirus may be deported, according to the Interfax news agency.

His comments come after the first two cases of the deadly pneumonia-like virus were reported in Russia last week.

Moscow has suspended direct passenger trains to China, as well as direct flights.

3:30 pm: China says some countries have overreacted to virus outbreak

China's foreign ministry on Monday said some countries, especially the U.S., have overreacted to the coronavirus outbreak, according to Reuters.

The U.S., in particular, has spread fear instead of offering significant assistance, the Chinese foreign ministry said. It was the first country to impose a travel ban on Chinese travelers, it said.

U.S. President Donald Trump last week signed an order for the U.S. to deny entry to any foreign nationals who have traveled in China within the past two weeks.

"All it has done could only create and spread fear, which is a bad example," ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying said, according to Reuters.

The ministry added that it is unreasonable to prevent people from entering borders. Several other countries have also placed travel restrictions on Chinese nationals, or those with travel history in China.

3:15 pm: Chinese stocks dive by the close

Mainland Chinese markets plunged on their return from the extended Lunar New Year holiday, and maintained steep declines by the close.

The Shanghai composite fell 7.72% while the Shenzhen component dropped 8.45%. The Shenzhen composite dived 8.41%. Earlier, they fell by as much as nearly 9%.

The onshore Chinese yuan touched a low of 7.0223 against the greenback, last trading at 7.0141 while its offshore counterpart was at 7.0132 per dollar.

2:30 pm: Russia to start evacuating citizens from Wuhan

Russia plans to start evacuating its citizens from Wuhan on Monday. There are more than 600 Russians in the Chinese city, according to a Reuters report citing Russia's deputy prime minister.

Russia, which reported two coronavirus cases last week, has suspended direct passenger trains to China, as well as direct flights.

1:30 pm: Coronavirus deaths in mainland China overtake SARS

The number of deaths in mainland China has now surpassed that of SARS. Officials said earlier that the current coronavirus outbreak had killed 361 people through the end of Sunday. According to the World Health Organization, the first case of novel coronavirus in Wuhan, China was reported Dec. 31.That number is greater than the 349 deaths during the SARS epidemic which lasted from 2002 to 2003.

12:50 pm: China says mask production capacity doubled, virus impact on economy 'temporary'

China's production capacity of face masks has doubled as of Sunday night, said Lian Weiliang, deputy head of the National Development and Reform Commission, at a briefing in Beijing Monday morning.

After the threat of the virus passes, the government will purchase the excess masks, Lian said, noting businesses' concerns about overproduction.

Meanwhile, the inventory of vegetables in Wuhan, the epicenter of the outbreak, has returned to "normal levels," according to Wang Bingnan, a vice minister of the Ministry of Commerce, at the same briefing.

Lian added that the impact of the virus on the economy, especially consumption, is increasing, but the overall impact to the economy is "temporary."

12:00 pm: Thousands of healthcare workers in Hong Kong go on strike

Thousands of medical workers in Hong Kong went on strike starting Monday to compel the city's government to accede to a demand for a complete shutdown of its borders with mainland China to keep out the spread of the virus.

Around 2,400 employees took part in a strike on Monday, according to a Reuters report. If the government does not respond by 6:00 p.m HK/SIN, all staff — including more than 6,000 workers in essential services — would go on a full strike from Tuesday, according to a report by the South China Morning Post.

11:10 am: Huawei resumes production

Chinese tech giant Huawei said Monday it has resumed production of goods, including consumer devices and other telecoms equipment.

The move was in line with a government directive that allows certain critical industries to remain in operation, amid the government's decision to extend a shutdown in more than half of China's provinces and regions in a bid to control the outbreak.

10:40 am: Vietnam confirms three new cases

Vietnam confirmed three new coronavirus cases, according to Reuters citing the country's ministry of health. That brings its total to eight cases. The country had declared a public health emergency on Saturday and suspended all flights to and from mainland China.

9:50 am: US reports two more cases

Two more cases — a couple — were confirmed in San Benito in California late on Sunday. The husband recently traveled to Wuhan, while the wife did not. That made the total number of cases in the U.S. at 11.

9:32 am: Mainland Chinese stocks plunge almost 9%

Mainland Chinese markets plunged on their return from the extended Lunar New Year holiday.

The Shenzhen component dived 8.69%, and the Shenzhen composite plunged 8.65% in early trading. The Shanghai composite tumbled more than 8%.

Both the onshore and offshore yuan weakened past the 7 level against the dollar on Monday morning, a key psychological level.

The People's Bank of China, however, announced Sunday that it will inject 1.2 trillion yuan ($174 billion) worth of liquidity into the markets via open market reverse repo operations.

That will make the total liquidity in the banking system around 900 billion yuan more as compared to a year ago, it added.

The China Securities Regulatory Commission told the state-owned People's Daily on Sunday, however, that it believed the outbreak's impact on markets would be short lived. To support firms, it said it would call on corporate bond investors to extend the debt maturity dates, and consider launching hedging tools for the A-share market to ease market panic.

8:45 am: More Chinese provinces or regions extend shutdown

As of Monday morning, at least 24 provinces, municipalities and other regions in China have told businesses not to resume work before Feb. 10 at the earliest. That's according to publicly available statements from the governments.

Last year, those parts of China accounted for more than 80% of national GDP, and 90% of exports, according to CNBC calculations of data accessed through Wind Information.

Beijing: encouraged companies to have employees work from home until Feb. 10.

Hubei: businesses are not to reopen until at least Feb. 14. However, officials said Friday that Hubei would further extend the holiday to an "appropriate extent," according to state-owned newspaper People's Daily.

Tianjin: Businesses and schools are not to reopen until further notice.

Anhui, Chongqing, Fujian, Guangdong, Guangxi, Guizhou, Hebei, Heilongjiang, Henan, Hunan, Inner Mongolia, Jiangsu, Jiangxi, Jilin, Liaoning, Ningxia, Shaanxi, Shandong, Shanghai, Shanxi, Suzhou, Xi'an, Yunnan, Zhejiang: work is to resume no earlier than midnight on Feb. 9.

8:10 am: China markets set to reopen on Monday

Investors are bracing for the reopening of mainland Chinese markets at 9:30 a.m. after the extended holiday, with expectations they will take a battering amid the virus outbreak.

The People's Bank of China, however, announced Sunday that it will inject 1.2 trillion yuan ($173 billion) worth of liquidity into the markets via open market reverse repo operations.

Meanwhile, other Asia markets tumbled at Monday's open, with Japan, Australia and South Korea all dropping more than 1%.

7:50 am: China confirms 57 additional deaths and 2,829 new cases

China's National Health Commission said there were an additional 57 deaths and 2,829 new confirmed cases, as of the end of Sunday. That brings the country's total to 361 deaths and 17,205 confirmed cases, the government said.

6:54 am: China's Hubei province confirms additional 56 deaths and 2,103 new cases

The Hubei Provincial Health Committee confirmed 2,103 new cases and an additional 56 deaths in the province through the end of Feb. 2. It said that brings total confirmed cases in the region to 11,177 as the death toll rises to 350 deaths in the province.

Wuhan, China is the capital city of Hubei province and the epicenter of the coronavirus outbreak.

All times below in U.S. eastern standard time.

5 pm: California county reports ninth US case of coronavirus

The ninth U.S. case of coronavirus was confirmed in Santa Clara County on Sunday. It's the second case in the San Francisco Bay area. The case is in a woman who was recently in Wuhan, China, and visited the U.S. to see family on Jan. 23, according to the County of Santa Clara Public Health Department.

3 pm: Russian Railways halts passenger trains to China

Russian Railways said on Sunday that it would temporarily suspend passenger trains to China from midnight until further notice, including rail services along the Moscow-Beijing route.

2 pm: China finishes building new hospital in 10 days

The Chinese city of Wuhan has finished building an emergency hospital to treat patients infected with the virus. Huoshenshan Hospital will have 1,400 medical staff from the armed forces starting on Monday and a capacity of 1,000 beds, China's state news agency Xinhua reported.

For more coverage on the coronavirus, read the overnight blog from CNBC's U.S. team.

— CNBC's Evelyn Cheng, Eustance Huang and Emma Newburger, as well as Reuters, contributed to this report.




Coronavirus Updates Hong Kong Border Mainland China Death Toll At 361


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