SA calm in the face of coro­n­avirus

Pretoria News - - OPINION -

THE Coro­n­avirus has re­sulted in the im­po­si­tion of travel re­stric­tions and the clo­sure of China to the world, af­fect­ing the global econ­omy, es­pe­cially those of de­vel­op­ing coun­tries, for whom China has be­come an in­creas­ingly im­por­tant part­ner.

But it is the hu­man cost that is of para­mount con­cern as close to 500 peo­ple have died of the disease in China, with more than 24000 cases world­wide.

The 2003 out­break of Sars – an­other coro­n­avirus strand – in­fected 5 327 peo­ple in main­land China, with 349 deaths.

China’s econ­omy re­cov­ered af­ter this out­break and in­di­ca­tions are that it will do so again, al­though the im­pact is greater this time around as China has a larger share of global GDP.

The coro­n­avirus has been de­clared a pub­lic health emer­gency of in­ter­na­tional con­cern, but the South African gov­ern­ment has not pan­icked, say­ing the 165 South African stu­dents and 54 teachers cur­rently liv­ing in Wuhan, China, and about 3 000 stu­dents in that coun­try will not be evac­u­ated at this stage.

Chi­nese Am­bas­sador Lin Song­tian this week ex­pressed con­cern about the fact that Euro­pean coun­tries and the US had evac­u­ated their ci­ti­zens from China, say­ing this had the po­ten­tial to trans­mit the virus in cases that were un­de­tected.

Be­hind-the-scenes sci­en­tists are rac­ing against time to de­velop a vac­cine against the coro­n­avirus. Sav­ing lives is their para­mount con­cern.

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