The outbreak has now claimed over 300 lives and the infection rate has jumped to 14,400 as work in 21 provinces in China responsible for 90% of the country’s exports has been disrupted. The US and Australia have closed their borders to all non-citizens from China and introduced quarantine measures.
Thai Airways has moved to cancel flights to 6 Chinese destinations until the 29th of February as the latest figures from China announced on Sunday show another jump in deaths and infections as a result of the coronavirus outbreak. Chinese authorities are scrambling to control the outbreak that is an increasing threat to the communist country, not least it’s economy.
Thai Airways, the Thai national carrier has announced the suspension of a range of flights to China and from China to Thailand from the 6th February to 29th February because of the coronavirus outbreak in Wuhan.
The flights affected are routes between Bangkok and six Chinese destinations including Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou, Khun Ming, Chengdu and Xiamen.
US and Australia introduce sweeping Chinese travel bans to protect citizens from the coronavirus
The move comes as the United States and other countries have imposed broad travel bans on visitors from China and even introduced entry bans for people who have been in China within the last 14 days. Vietnam, another communists country, suspended all flights from China on Saturday.
Similar blanket bans have been imposed in Italy, Singapore and even China’s close neighbour Mongolia.
Australian nationals from Wuhan must self isolate
Australian authorities have even insisted that Australian nationals who have been to Wuhan go into self-isolation for 14 days as efforts to lock down that country from the threat fall into place.
Hong Kong doctors strike for a closed border
In Hong Kong, medical workers in the former British colony have voted to strike from Monday in an attempt to force authorities to close the borders to the mainland in order to ward off the threat. Hong Kong suffered gravely during the SARS outbreak of 2003.
Popular antipathy toward the mainland continues in the territory where a large majority are seeking greater autonomy.
The latest figures from authorities in Beijing now confirm that there have been 304 deaths from the outbreak with the number of infections jumping to nearly 14,400.
Angry response from Beijing to US advisory
In the other direction, a US travel advisory warning US citizens not to visit China, on any account, has sparked an angry response from Chinese authorities who have described the move as ‘unkind’ while the US and UK embassies withdrew staff and extended family members from China as a precaution.
Heightened tensions between China and the West
The outbreak has heightened tensions between China and western countries where distrust in authorities in the stricken country has become an issue over the failure to highlight the outbreak when it first emerged in early December last year.
The virus first came to the attention of local authorities in Wuhan and this revelation has sparked senior officials in western countries to question Chinese officials and in particular the Communist Party apparatus.
World Health Organization damaged by comments from its Director-General and initial assessment
The stature and authority of the World Health Organisation have also been severely damaged with it Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus forced into making an abject apology last week for describing the outbreak as ‘moderate’ several times.
Even though the WHO declared an emergency on Thursday, the body and its director-general appeared to issue fawning praise for China and later warned against sweeping countermeasures such as the decisive moves taken this weekend by Australia and the United States.
China’s economy severely disrupted with more money being poured into the financial system
The coronavirus has now caused the disruption of day to day work activities in 21 key Chinese provinces that together account for 90% of that country’s exports.
The Chinese government has just announced an injection of $174 billion into the financial system to help alleviate the financial stress brought about by the disaster which authorities are struggling to bring under control.
Apple announced this weekend that its iconic 42 stores in Thailand will be closed temporarily until at least February 9th.