Beijing – China’s mysterious Coronavirus threatens to slow down global trade, ENN reports. The development comes after a few confirmed cases of the Novel Coronavirus have been reported outside China in Thailand, Taiwan, South Korea, Japan, Singapore, Vietnam and the United States of America over the past week. The virus emerged in Wuhan, a Chinese city with a population of 11 million people.

China’s mysterious new coronavirus comes as the country enters one of its busiest travel seasons in the upcoming Lunar New Year holiday. Currently, there are currently 830 confirmed cases of patients infected with the virus in China. As the head of the UN health agency, WHO (World Health Organization), Mr Tedros declared on Thursday that the respiratory disease, Novel Coronavirus, is not yet an official Public Health Emergency of International Concern (PHEIC), but warned that is an emergency in China. Considering China’s billion population and its global linkages, WHO’s procrastination in declaring the virus a Public Health Emergency of International Concern may cost the world, particularly poorly resourced nations and Africa in particular.

Coronavirus to Stifle Africa – China Trade

In 2019, two-way trade between China and Africa grew by 2.2 per cent to US$208.7 billion, official reports confirm. The impact of the Coronavirus outbreak on Africa will be largely felt in tourism and travel as China remains one of Africa’s leading tourist. As with the case of a Wuhan woman who was found in France after cheating quarantine and checks, if the mysterious virus lands on poor Africa, both trade and lives will be lost. It is time Mr Tedros declares it an emergency as he puts together mechanisms to restrict the virus to China only.    

As the Coronavirus death toll climbed to 26 on Thursday, China has already widened its travel restrictions in Hubei province, in the process affecting over 20 million people across 10 cities. Coronavirus belongs to a family of infections that cause the common cold but has far more serious implications, including Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS).

As the outbreak spreads, business disruptions in China are inevitable as authorities have cancelled public events in some parts of China, including Hong Kong’s annual football tournament and all public Lunar New Year celebrations in Macau. Fast Foods chain McDonalds has suspended business in five cities in Hubei and Disney Resort in Shanghai has also temporarily shut down operations. Key tourist sites have not been spared as a part of the Great Wall has also been shut down. As Chinese nationals scramble to evade the travel restrictions imposed by authorities on some of its cities by exiting the country, the world is at risk. Meanwhile, China is building a 1000 bed hospital in Wuhan, expected to be completed within six days to deal with the Coronavirus outbreak.