SA calm in the face of coronavirus
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.