Death toll from Coronavirus hits 106 with over 1770 new cases
China will refurbish a hospital in Beijing that was built during the 2002 SARS outbreak as it works to contain a coronavirus that has killed more than 100 people and infected more than 4,500. Xiaotangshan Hospital, on the northern outskirts of Beijing, was used in 2003 to quarantine and treat severe acute respiratory syndrome patients, before being converted into a sanatorium in 2012. It came as Chinese authorities confirmed on Tuesday that the country’s death toll from the outbreak had soared to 106 and that there had been 1,771 new cases. The total number of confirmed cases has climbed to more than 4,500 in China alone, with 26 new deaths reported in the country on Tuesday. Most of those who have died were from Hubei province, at the epicentre of the outbreak.
In Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia’s special envoy to China, Tan Kok Wai said despite a temporary travel and visa ban on residents of Hubei province and Wuhan, ties between Malaysia and China is still at its best. Tan said that the government of China has already banned its citizens from leaving Wuhan and no one in the affected area will be participating in overseas. Tan, who is also the chairman for Malaysia-China Business Council, said he hopes that the visa suspension will be temporary and the international community would be supportive in order to defeat the 2019-nCoV outbreak together. He admitted that 2020, which should be the focus of both countries’ cross-cultural tourism, is affected badly by the outbreak, which has infected thousands around the world and recorded more than 100 deaths in China.
Meanwhile, the Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture is confident of meeting this year’s tourist arrivals despite the travel restrictions. Minister Datuk Mohammadin Ketapi, however, said there is a probability that the outbreak could drive the numbers down, but insisted it would be marginal. China has over the years become a key tourism market for Malaysia. Its tourists were the third largest in foreign tourist arrival into the country last year and account for a third in tourism money receipt, official statistics showed.
Economic Affairs Minister, Datuk Seri Mohamed Azmin Ali said the spread of the coronavirus will not affect the current economic outlook for Malaysia. “If this continues, it would certainly affect the country’s economy. But I do not want to speculate as this is a serious matter.” Commenting on the economic situation, Datuk Seri Azmin said recent statistics showed that Malaysia’s economic fundamentals and investors’ confidence remained strong. “Our share market is relatively weak compared to regional countries, but our fundamentals are still strong.