03/12/2020, 10.29
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WHO: It's a pandemic. Beijing prepares the Canton Fair

by Wang Zhicheng

The coronavirus has reached 114 countries and infected about 120,000 people. China tries to resume production and lighten lockdown imposed in many cities and provinces. Yesterday in Qianjiang (Hubei) the restriction of movement was removed at 8.30 am and put back in place at 10.30 am. Only 15 new cases of infection were registered yesterday, the lowest level recorded in two months.

Beijing (AsiaNews) - The World Health Organization (WHO) said yesterday that the coronavirus epidemic that originated in Wuhan (Hubei) in China is now a pandemic, having now reached 114 countries and infected about 120 thousand people.

In Geneva, the WHO head, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, said that “in the days and weeks that will come we expect to see more and more cases of [infection], the number of deaths, the number of countries affected ".

Within hours of this announcement, Chinese Premier Li Keqiang issued a statement stating that the Canton fair (usually held between the second half of April and early May) will go ahead despite the pandemic.

Because of the epidemic, China has postponed many political and economic appointments. These include the National People's Assembly, which is held in early March, and the Boao forum, which is held in Hainan.

The country's economy has been badly hit. Many analysts fear that the Chinese giant may experience heavy negative growth in the first quarter of 2020 (-6% compared to the previous quarter and -3% compared to the same period in 2019). If so, it would be the first time since the Cultural Revolution (1966-1976) that Beijing is facing a recession.

The attempt to overcome the stalemate by returning to work and production pushes the authorities to reopen the factories and lighten the quarantine restrictions imposed in many cities and provinces.

But there is no guarantee that the spread of the virus has really been defeated. Yesterday in Qianjiang, a city in Hubei, 150 km from Wuhan, the government had given the go-ahead to lift all movement restrictions starting at 8.30 in the morning. But at 10.30 in the morning, the provincial authority decided to still block transport and leave only a few factories open.

Officially, the National Health Commission reported only 15 new cases of infection yesterday, the lowest value in two months. In recent days there has been an ever-decreasing number of positive cases. Curiously, the low number of cases across China coincided with Xi Jinping's visit to Wuhan, where he wanted to "celebrate the victory" of the country and the Party over the epidemic.

The total number of infected in China is 80,980; 62,887 have recovered; 3173 people have died.

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