The American Chamber of Commerce in Shanghai (AmCham Shanghai)

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Coronavirus Health Update
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China’s National Health Commission reported that there were 327 new cases of COVID-19 in China yesterday (February 26), most of them in Hubei province (there were 9 new cases confirmed outside the province). The aggregate number of confirmed cases in China has risen to 78,824.

Yesterday there were no new cases reported in Shanghai.

The graphs below show the trend for the number of daily new cases in China (graph 1) and the aggregate number of confirmed cases versus suspected cases (graph 2).

Dr. Zhong Nanshan, China’s leading epidemiologist, said in a press conference yesterday that he expects the virus to be under control in China by the end of April. He added, however, that with surges now occurring in other countries, “more consideration is needed.” View the press briefing here. Dr. Zhong admitted that the number of coronavirus infections would have been far lower had China taken early action.

Earlier this week AmCham Shanghai published an exclusive interview with Jennifer Bouey, a Peking University Medical School-trained physician and epidemiologist, who is currently at the Rand Corporation. Bouey believes an overhaul of China’s epidemic warning system is overdue.

President Donald Trump said on Wednesday evening that the U.S. will continue implementing travel restrictions for foreign nationals who have recently been to China. His response came just hours before the U.S. CDC confirmed a patient contracted coronavirus who did not have a related travel history nor exposure to another known COVID-19 patient, raising the possibility of community spread of the virus in the U.S.

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Policy
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Work Resumption for Small- and Medium-sized Companies: Official work resumption rate data for China’s small- and medium-sized companies is not as encouraging as expected. According to Zhang Kejian, vice-minister of China’s Ministry of Industry and Information Technology, as of February 26, only “32.8% of 18 million Chinese SMEs have resumed operation, up by 3.2% from Sunday.” Zhang said that to help SMEs resume work, the Ministry would send 37 designated officers to seven provinces, including Jiangsu and Zhejiang. Read more.


New Shanghai Deputy Party Secretary Appointed: The Central Committee of the Communist Party of China on Friday named Liao Guoxun as deputy party secretary of Shanghai, following the appointment of former deputy party secretary Ying Yong to the post of Hubei party secretary two weeks ago. Mr. Liao is currently a member of the Shanghai Party Standing Committee. In 2015 he served as a member of the Standing Committee of the Zhejiang Provincial Party Committee, where he worked closely with current Shanghai Party Secretary Li Qiang, who was at that time the governor of Zhejiang province.

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Economy
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Stocks Plunge Amid Fears of Recession: News out of Wall Street continues to be grim, with the S&P 500 index sinking 4.4% on Thursday, its worst loss since August 2011. The S&P 500 index reached a record high just last Wednesday, before dropping 12% and entering a correction. Investors seeing a buying opportunity may wish to consider: Is this the bottom? Will it be a V-shaped or U-shaped fall?

ChiNext Soars: The tech- and healthcare-focused ChiNext exchange has posted a 22% gain this year, outpacing other stock markets, with tech companies expected to gain as China’s consumers stay indoors and spend more time online in response to the coronavirus. But observers say the exchange is overbought, reports the Financial Times. Supporting that premise is the news that search giant Baidu is forecasting an earnings shortfall next quarter.

Restaurant Resuscitation: Beijing’s beleaguered restaurant owners are seeking novel ways to escape the coronavirus. Their experiences may prove instructive for restaurant companies in other countries as the coronavirus continues its global and disruptive march.

Ports Unplug: The South China Morning Post reports that China’s ports are reopening and unplugging backlog of containers on their docks. The arrival of truck drivers, almost all of whom come from areas far from port cities, has helped.

The Hard Truth About China-Centric Supply Chains: The Economist offers an insightful look at how the coronavirus is shedding a harsh light on the reality of supply chains that rely entirely on China.

China Blocks Firms from Special Loans: Authorities have denied 48 mostly state-owned enterprises from inclusion on China’s official list of those eligible for special low-cost loans, meant for firms actively fighting the coronavirus epidemic. Caixin Global reports that the decision was due to concern that the firms, including five coal producers, 38 transport companies and five local government financing vehicles, would misuse the funds.

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End
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