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Taiwan bans all international cruise ships from docking
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Shanghai authorities recommend suspending all sports event in city, putting F1 GP in doubt
Global coronavirus infections
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Number of quarantine citizens in US approaches 400
There were long queues in supermarket across Hong Kong last night, with people panic buying toilet rolls and tissues, largely due to a rumour spreading online saying China will stop manufacturing toilet paper for the next two weeks. There was also a run on vitamins, rice and packet noodles, leaving supermarket shelves empty.
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Adidas closes China stores over virus outbreak
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Virgin Australia ends all flights to Hong Kong
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Australia’s universities are going to come under financial pressure in coming weeks when classes start but Chinese students are unable to attend due to the coronavirus crisis, ratings agency S&P says.
Students from mainland China are about 38% of tertiary enrolments, S&P says.
International students are worth $11.3bn a year in fees, so that puts as much as $4.3bn in revenue at risk.
S&P says universities can’t easily cut costs, such as staff wages and building maintenance, to offset the potential revenue plunge.
“The health crisis underscores the risks that stem from the sector’s growing dependence on the lucrative international market, which has flourished against a backdrop of stagnant government funding and heavy investment in the pursuit of higher rankings,” the agency said.
S&P also says German carmaker Volkswagen stands to take the biggest hit from factory shutdowns in Hubei province, the epicentre of the virus outbreak, because it makes almost 40% of its cars and components in China.
“While the Chinese market maintains its long-term attraction for most global auto manufacturers and suppliers, recent developments may contribute to turning 2020 into an ever more challenging year for global automakers and suppliers than we originally expected,” analyst Vittoria Ferraris said.
Japan confirms 10 new passengers diagnosed on ship
The 10 newly diagnosed Diamond Princess passengers include four Japanese nationals, the health ministry said on Thursday morning. The nationalities of the other six were not immediately available. The 10 patients comprise five people in their 70s, four in their 60s and one in his or her 50s, the ministry said.
Shares have risen strongly again on Asian markets where there appears to be more confidence – helped by another strong day on Wall Street – that the economic impact of the new coronavirus will not be too damaging.
The ASX200 is up 0.55% in Sydney, the Nikkei has surged 1.6% in Tokyo and Seoul has gained 1.27%. Brent crude rose $1.32 yesterday to $55.28 a barrel.
On the other side of the ledger, there is more evidence of how companies are being affected by the spread of the virus.
- Cathay Pacific has asked its entire workforce of 27,000 to take up to three weeks of unpaid leave. It said on Tuesday that it was cutting 30% of its capacity in the coming weeks.
- Adidas has announced that it is shutting a “significant” number of its 500 stores in China.
- Foxconn, which manufactures the Apple iPhone, said it had applied to the Chinese authorities to restart operations at factories in China next week but it could take one to two weeks from then to resume full production due to the coronavirus outbreak, Reuters reported, quoting a source with knowledge of the matter. However, a full resumption was not possible until late February due to various travel restrictions imposed to curb the virus.
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