Hong Kong records the first death by virus, Macao closes the casinos

By Farah Master and Ryan Woo HONG KONG/BEIJING (Reuters) - Hong Kong reported Tuesday of its first death from the newly identified coronavirus, the second outside of mainland China for an outbreak that killed more than 420 people, spread throughout the world and generated fears for World economic growth. China's currency and stock markets stabilized in choppy trade after the anxiety over the virus hit the yuan on Monday and erased about $ 400 billion in market value from the Shanghai benchmark. Macao, the world's largest gaming center, said it had asked all casino operators to suspend operations for two weeks to help stop the spread of the virus. In another announcement that will aggravate concerns about the economic impact, Hyundai Motor said it would gradually suspend production at its factories in South Korea due to supply chain disruptions due to the outbreak. Hong Kong's death led to 427 victims of the virus, including a man who died in the Philippines last week after visiting Wuhan, the central city of China at the epicenter of the outbreak. The Chinese authorities said the number of victims in China increased by a record 64 from the day before to 425, mainly in Hubei, the practically closed province whose capital is Wuhan. New cases were reported in the United States, including a patient in California infected by close contact with someone in the same household who had been infected in China. It was the second instance of spread from person to person in the United States after a case reported last week in Illinois. We expect to see more cases of spread from person to person, said Dr. Nancy Messonnier, director of the National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in the US. UU. The total number of infections in China increased by 3,235 to 20,438, and there were at least 151 cases in 23 other countries and regions. The World Health Organization (WHO) has declared that the influenza-like virus is a global emergency and experts say that much is still unknown about the pathogen, including its mortality rate and transmission routes. Such uncertainties have stimulated extreme measures by some countries to stop the spread. Australia sent hundreds of Wuhan evacuees to a remote island in the Indian Ocean, while Japan ordered the quarantine of a cruise ship with more than 3,000 on board after a Hong Kong man who sailed last month tested positive for the virus . ON STRIKE In Hong Kong, hospital staff said the 39-year-old male victim had a pre-existing chronic illness and had visited Wuhan in January before getting sick. Hundreds of medical workers in the former British colony conducted a second day of strikes to press for the complete closure of the city's borders with mainland China, a day after the conflict leader Carrie Lam left the three remaining control points open . We are not threatening the government, we just want to prevent the outbreak, said Cheng, a 26-year-old nurse among the strikers. The Asian financial center has confirmed 15 cases of the virus and its network of public hospitals is struggling to cope with a flood of patients and measures to contain the epidemic. Hong Kong was severely affected by Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS), another coronavirus that emerged from China in 2002 to kill almost 800 people worldwide. WHO figures show that SARS killed 299 people in Hong Kong then. Chinese data suggests that the new virus, although much more contagious than SARS, is significantly less lethal, although these numbers can evolve rapidly. In Wuhan, authorities began converting a gymnasium, an exhibition center and a cultural complex into makeshift hospitals with more than 3,400 beds for patients with mild infections, said the official Changjiang Daily. The United States said Friday that it will block almost all foreign visitors who have been in China in the last 14 days, joining Australia, Singapore, New Zealand, Vietnam and others with similar restrictions. China on Monday accused the United States of alarmism and said Tuesday that it would appreciate its help in fighting the outbreak. The White House said China had accepted its offer of American experts among a WHO mission to study and help fight the virus. With Wuhan and some other cities in a virtual shutdown, travel is severely restricted and China faces growing international isolation, fears of further economic disruption are growing. OPEC oil cartel sources said producers were considering reducing production by almost a third to keep prices. Airlines have stopped flights to parts of China. A suspension by the United Arab Emirates on Monday will affect the Etihad and Emirates Gulf airlines. The organizers of the Singapore Air Show said a meeting of some 300 international aviation officials had been canceled, although the show itself would continue this month. Some economists predict that world economic production will be reduced by 0.2 to 0.3 percentage points due to the closure of China. For a chart that compares coronavirus outbreaks, see https://tmsnrt.rs/2GK6YVK (Report by Lusha Zhang and Ryan Woo in Beijing and Farah Master in Hong Kong; Additional report by Leng Cheng and Winni Zhou in Shanghai, Roxanne Liu and Muyu Xu in Beijing, Tom Westbrook in Singapore, Byron Kaye in Sydney and Linda Sieg, Sakura Murakami and Ami Miyazaki in Tokyo; Written by Stephen Coates; Edited by Raju Gopalakrishnan and Clarence Fernandez) This story has not been edited by The Times of India and is automatically generated from a syndicated feed to which we subscribe. (This story has not been edited by timesofindia.com and is automatically generated from a syndicated feed to which we subscribe.)

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