China’s coronavirus epidemic is growing increasingly serious. The number of people infected with the Chinese coronavirus has already reached more than 4.5 thousand and the death toll from the outbreak has risen to 100 (the death rate is 2-3%). Some Hong Kong infectious disease experts believe that nearly 44 thousand people have already been infected by the Wuhan coronavirus.
Wuhan, which is currently under lockdown, is considered to be the epicenter of the ongoing coronavirus outbreak. Local authorities are trying to control the spread of a new virus and seal off other Chinese cities. Quarantine is necessary because the virus is quickly transmitted from one people to another during the incubation period, which can last up to 14 days. Coronavirus has now infected more people in China than were sickened there during SARS outbreak in 2003 (Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome). SARS killed 649 people and infected more than 7 thousand (the mortality rate was 9-10%).
At the moment, Chinese authorities are taking all possible measures to contain the epidemic, reduce its negative economic effects, and fight the spread of false information. A lot of medical personnel have already been sent to the area to fight the virus. Health protection is declared as number one priority in China. The current viral epidemic also creates favorable conditions for the extensive spread of unreliable information. Chinese authorities also stressed that it was obligatory to provide people with all necessary information about the epidemic.
As for the economic and political consequences of coronavirus, the main problem is not the current risk of infection, but social disorganization in China. Under the quarantine period, millions of people will not be able to return to work and education. There can also be food supply interruptions. Chinese authorities have decided to cancel Beijing’s Lunar New Year celebrations in hopes of stopping the spread of coronavirus. According to the mayor of Wuhan, more than 5 million people (about a third of the population) left the city due to the New Year holidays and the coronavirus epidemic.
Wuhan has a comprehensive transportation network of air, rail, waterway, and highway. Chinese authorities have suspended all passenger transportation. This ban can cause serious transport difficulties for the whole of China. A lot of tourists are canceling flights to China due to the virus outbreak. Reduction of tourist flow will have negative consequences for the Chinese economy. The number of coronavirus cases is probably much higher than is being reported by mass media. But this doesn't mean that the spread of the infection is only going to get worse. Taking into account China’s coronavirus epidemic that is expanding dramatically, the quarantine situation in Hubei province will continue until mid-February or early March. It is likely that China will place quarantine on other cities.
Traditionally, in March there is a reorganization that involves structural and functional changes in the Chinese regional authorities. The new regional bodies then take part in the work of the National People's Congress and the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference. The current situation in China makes it impossible to change leaders, as they run the fight against the epidemic. This violates the plans of the China's leadership and disrupts the established political system.
Now the ability of the Chinese officials to respond to emergency situations is the most relevant criterion for their further promotion. The Chinese authorities are trying to reduce the virus spreading. China will also have to deal with food security issues, environmental problems, finance risks in the real estate market, and job losses caused by the trade war with the United States.