Epidemic Worsens Outside China, Roiling Markets: Virus Update By Bloomberg

(Bloomberg) — The coronavirus outbreak accelerated outside China, with South Korea reporting a surge in infections. China adjusted the number of cases for the third time this month, raising more questions over the reliability of the data.

Infections in China topped 75,000. South Korea reported 48 more cases, taking the total number to 204. Neighboring Japan is also seeing cases in several unconnected areas. The spread outside China continued to roil markets and stocks fell globally.

Key Developments

  • South Korea confirms 48 more cases, bringing total to 204
  • China cases rise to 75,465, with 2,236 fatalities
  • Hubei revises up new cases to 631 from 411
  • Japan economic activity contracting sharply as virus hits

Click VRUS on the terminal for news and data on the novel coronavirus and here for maps and charts. For analysis of the impact from Bloomberg Economics, click here.

German Economy Faces Coronavirus Hit (4:50 p.m. HK)

Germany’s economy is facing renewed pressure from beyond its borders as export orders plunge and manufacturers worry about the impact of the outbreak on their supply chains.

Five Prisons in 3 Chinese Provinces Report Cases (3:50 p.m. HK)

Five prisons in China’s Hubei, Shandong and Zhejiang provinces have reported prisoner infections as of Thursday, He Ping, an official at the Ministry of Justice, said at a briefing.

No deaths have been reported yet from the prison outbreaks.

Hubei Revises Up New Cases to 631 From 411 (12:51 p.m. HK)

Hubei, the province at the heart of the outbreak, revised the number of additional coronavirus cases for Feb. 20 to 631 from 411, after adding 220 from a prison, Hubei’s health commission said in a statement. The total case count in the province is 62,662.

This is the third time Hubei has had to adjust its numbers over the past week, leading to concern about the reliability of the data.

MGM China Seeks to Relax Debt Covenants (12:32 p.m. HK)

MGM China Holdings Ltd. wants banks to ease financial covenants tied to a HK$9.75 billion ($1.25 billion) loan after the temporary closure of casinos in Macau amid the virus outbreak hurt business, according to people familiar with the matter.

Macau casinos have been reeling from the unprecedented closure of their operations for 15 days to curb the spread of the virus. MGM Resorts International this month withdrew its earnings forecast for 2020, citing the impact of the virus on its casinos in Macau and Las Vegas. A Bloomberg Intelligence index of Macau casino operators’ shares slumped on Friday.

China Plans Bigger Trial for Anti-Malaria Drug (11:33 a.m. HK)

China is planning a bigger trial for anti-malaria drug chloroquine phosphate after clinical trials in Beijing and Guangdong Province showed initial positive results for 135 patients in treating the virus.

A stem-cell therapy that has so far cured four patients with severe cases of the virus is also under development, said Xu Nanping, vice minister at the Ministry of Science and Technology.

A clinical trial spanning 10 hospitals in Wuhan for Gilead Sciences Inc (NASDAQ:).’s experimental drug remdesivir is still underway.

China Car Sales Fall 92% on Virus Impact (11:10 a.m. HK)

Car sales in China plunged 92% during the first two weeks of February because of the virus outbreak, the China Passenger Car Association said in a report.

China Shandong Province Finds 200 Cases in Prison (10:37 a.m. HK)

The eastern Chinese province of Shandong reported 202 new cases as of Thursday, of which 200 were found in Rencheng prison. Local officials including the head of the Shandong provincial justice department have been removed from their posts.

Japan Economic Activity Contracting Sharply on Virus (10:20 a.m. HK)

Japanese economic activity, hit by the coronavirus, has been contracting so far in February, PMI data show, adding to evidence the country has slipped into recession.

Activity in the manufacturing sector hit its lowest level in more than seven years in February, according to Jibun Bank Japan Manufacturing Purchasing Managers Index. The reading slipped to 47.6, while an index for the service sector plunged back into contractionary territory with a sharp fall to 46.7.

Over 1,000 to Have Left Virus-Hit Cruise Ship by End of Day (10:04 a.m. HK)

More than 1,000 passengers will have left the Diamond Princess cruise ship by the end of Friday, Japan’s Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga told reporters in Tokyo.

Almost 720 passengers who tested negative for the virus left the liner in the last two days, while more than 400 will depart today, he said. Some 759 foreign nationals who were onboard have left Japan, while about 1,000 people will remain on the ship.

Earlier, two people evacuated to Australia from the cruise ship tested positive for the virus. Japan is allowing guests to leave the vessel, quarantined in Yokohama for 14 days, despite worries the country hasn’t done enough to prevent the spread of disease from the ship.

China Adds 889 Cases, Bringing Total to 75,465 (9:27 a.m. HK)

China reported 889 additional coronavirus cases by the end of Feb. 20, taking the total case count to 75,465, according to a statement from the National Health Commission. The total number of deaths increased by 118 to 2,236.

Earlier, Hubei province, the epicenter of the outbreak, reported 411 additional cases, but the NHC said Hubei had 631 new cases.

Two in Australia From Japan Cruise Ship Test Positive (8:06 a.m. HK)

Two people evacuated to Australia from the Diamond Princess cruise ship have tested positive for the coronavirus, according to the Northern Territory Department of Health. Six people were isolated yesterday after presenting minor symptoms on arrival at Darwin airport, Australian Broadcasting Corp. reported.

South Korea to Ban Vacations for Military Personnel (7:20 a.m. HK)

South Korea’s defense ministry will limit vacations, outside trips and visits by citizens for all military personnel, Chosun Ilbo newspaper reported. A Navy sailor in Jeju Island was confirmed to have contracted the coronavirus in the first confirmed case among service personnel, Yonhap reported earlier.

Disagreement Over Japan Patients Returned to U.S. (4:37 p.m. NY)

Officials from the U.S. State Department and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention disagreed over how to handle 14 people from a cruise ship who tested positive for the coronavirus while in the process of being repatriated to the U.S., according to the Washington Post.

According to the report, CDC officials wanted to wait and have the people who had tested positive for the virus travel separately from about 300 people being sent back to the U.S. after a long stint on a cruise ship where the virus broke out. State Department officials disagreed and pushed for the patients to be included.

The group was eventually flown back together, and the patients are being treated.

Airlines Expect First Global Traffic Drop Since 2009 (11:20 a.m. NY)

The airline industry expects the first annual decline in global passenger demand in 11 years, after tallying up the initial impact of the thousands of flights canceled because of the coronavirus outbreak in China.

The estimate shaves about 4.7 percentage points off of a passenger-growth forecast issued just two months ago, with almost all of the impact in the Asia-Pacific region, according to the International Air Transport Association. That may be conservative: The projections assume the loss of demand will be limited to markets linked to China.

The drop would be the first overall decline since the financial crisis of 2008-2009. Global passenger demand is now seen contracting by 0.6% this year, compared with a December forecast for 4.1% growth, IATA said.

To contact Bloomberg News staff for this story: Shinhye Kang in Seoul at skang24@bloomberg.net;Jeff Sutherland in Tokyo at jsutherlan13@bloomberg.net;Dong Lyu in Beijing at dlyu3@bloomberg.net;Colum Murphy in Beijing at cmurphy270@bloomberg.net

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Rachel Chang at wchang98@bloomberg.net, ;Adveith Nair at anair29@bloomberg.net, Tom Redmond, Jeff Sutherland

©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

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