China Business Digest: Several Chinese Regions Extend Mandatory Quarantines; U.S. Death Toll Tops 50,000
While China’s domestic tourism may bounce back over the May 1 Labor Day holiday, travelers in some parts of China are told they’ll have to wait even longer in quarantine than before. The death toll from coronavirus surpasses 50,000 in the U.S., and a U.S. Navy destroyer finds 18 cases on board.
— By Denise Jia (email@example.com)
** ON THE CORONAVIRUS
U.S. death toll tops 50,000
There were at least 50,031 reported deaths from coronavirus in the U.S., according to Johns Hopkins University, as the American case count reached 870,468 Friday.
18 cases reported on U.S. Navy destroyer
A U.S. Navy destroyer performing a counter narcotics mission has an outbreak of coronavirus with 18 cases, CNN reported.
The Pentagon confirmed a coronavirus outbreak on the USS Kidd, with more than one sailor testing positive. The ship is assigned to the Caribbean/Eastern Pacific mission.
FDA warns of serious side effects from two malaria drugs to treat Covid-19
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration warned against the use of two drugs that have been touted by President Donald Trump as potential treatments for novel coronavirus.
The agency said the drugs, hydroxychloroquine and chloroquine, should be used only in hospital settings or clinical trials because of the potential for serious side effects that could cause death.
The agency said it became aware of reports of “serious heart rhythm problems” in Covid-19 patients treated with the drugs, often in combination with azithromycin or other medications that can affect the heart.
Several regions extend isolation period for incoming travelers
Several Chinese regions have extended their mandatory quarantines (link in Chinese) for incoming travelers.
Beijing, the Guangxi Zhuang autonomous region, and a prefecture in Jilin province have asked new arrivals from overseas to self-isolate at home for one or two more weeks after leaving a two-week quarantine at a specific facility. Heilongjiang province, which has been dealing with a surge in imported cases from Russia, has increased the isolation requirement to 35 days for Mudanjiang residents who come back to the city from Russia through the Suifenhe land border crossing.
Labor Day holiday may see tourism bounce back
The upcoming Labor Day holiday is likely to see more than 86 million visitor trips inside China, but a medical expert has suggested (link in Chinese) people at higher risk from Covid-19 shouldn’t travel, including the elderly, those with chronic diseases, and pregnant women.
Trip.com expects twice as many trips will be taken over the five-day holiday, starting on May 1, as there were during China’s last public holiday at the start of April, when there were 43.3 million trips according to a state-backed think tank.
Documents show remdesivir first trial failed; but developer Gilead rebuts
Draft documents showed that remdesivir, a potential antiviral drug to treat Covid-19 patients, has failed in its first randomized clinical trial, the Financial Times reported, saying the documents were published accidentally by the World Health Organization.
But the drug’s developer Gilead Sciences said the document included “inappropriate characterizations” of the study. “The study was terminated early due to low enrollment and, as a result, it was underpowered to enable statistically meaningful conclusions,” it said.
Other virus news
• A survey suggested that nearly 14% of New York’s residents may have coronavirus antibodies, the state’s Governor Andrew Cuomo said Thursday, meaning that they have been infected at some point. Another study shows 4.1% of Los Angeles County’s adult population has an antibody to the virus.
• A recent study on the testis of male Covid-19 patients did not find the novel coronavirus in the organ.
• Four tigers and three lions tested positive for the novel coronavirus at New York City’s Bronx Zoo, the Wildlife Conservation Society announced on Wednesday. One of the tigers tested positive earlier this month.
• The Chinese mainland reported six new Covid-19 cases on Thursday, down from the 10 the previous day. Two of those were imported, the nation’s health authority said (link in Chinese). Hong Kong had two new cases and Taiwan had one.
• As of Friday afternoon, global infections had reached over 2.7 million, with over 190,000 deaths, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University.
Caixin’s coverage of the new coronavirus
** TOP STORIES OF THE DAY
Chinese president urges investment in “new infrastructure”
Chinese President Xi Jinping on Thursday urged boosting investment in “new infrastructure,” including 5G, the internet of things, artificial intelligence, and the industrial internet, the official Xinhua News Agency reported (link in Chinese).
High-tech new infrastructure has been a recent hot area that many think will enable China to energize economic development. At a Thursday briefing (link in Chinese), an official from the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology estimated that over 500,000 new 5G base stations will be built this year.
China to launch domestic hog futures
The Dalian Commodity Exchange was cleared to trade live pig futures, the first financial derivative based on a live animal in the world’s top pork-producing country.
The introduction of pig futures is an important step for the country’s futures market to serve the development of the real economy, the China Securities Regulatory Commission said in a statement on its website.
Shanghai Stock Exchange condemns Tsinghua Tongfang
The Shanghai Stock Exchange condemned Tsinghua Tongfang, an information and energy-conservation technology company, and several of its senior managers for its inaccurate forecast of its 2018 performance, a statement (link in Chinese) from the bourse said on Friday. Its actual performance was far worse than forecast, the statement said.
China’s first Mars exploration mission named “Tianwen 1”
China’s planetary exploration program has been named Tianwen, the China National Space Administration announced on Friday. The first Mars mission was named “Tianwen 1.”
The name, often translated as “heavenly questions,” comes from a more than 2,000-year-old poem by Qu Yuan, who lived during China’s Warring States period.
Wireless carriers report sluggish first-quarter performance
China’s three major wireless carriers all reported year-on-year declines in their net profits during the first quarter amid the pandemic, according to their latest financial reports issued this week.
China Unicom’s profit fell the most among the three, down 13.9%. China Mobile and China Telecom saw their quarterly revenue fall by 2% and 1.4%, respectively, to 181.3 billion yuan and 94.8 billion yuan; while Unicom’s revenue rose by a slight 0.9% to 73.8 billion.
Ping An Insurance (Group) reports net profit drop in first quarter
Insurance giant Ping An Insurance (Group)’s first-quarter net profit fell 42.7% from the same period last year to 26.1 billion yuan, according to a report from the company.
Outstanding loans managed by Lufax Holding, a fintech company controlled by Ping An, grew by 9.5% from the beginning of the year to 506.3 billion yuan at the end of March, the report said.
** OTHER STORIES MAKING THE HEADLINES
• The net profit of Tianhong Asset Management, an Ant Financial-controlled fund manager that runs major money market fund Yu’e Bao, dropped (link in Chinese) by 27.9% to 2.2 billion yuan in 2019.
• China’s central bank injected 56.1 billion yuan into the banking system via the targeted medium-term facility, while cutting the interest rate on the funding.
• The combined net profits of 133 securities brokerages fell 11.7% in the first quarter to 38.9 billion yuan, compared with 44 billion yuan reported by 131 brokerages in the same period last year, according to (link in Chinese) the Securities Association of China, a self-regulatory body for the industry.
• Chinese cybersecurity company Qihoo 360 reported a 44.4% drop in first-quarter net profit to 359.9 million yuan, according to its annual report (link in Chinese).
• The Chinese government vowed (link in Chinese) to set up industrial chains for hydrogen energy generation and hydrogen fuel cell vehicles within four years.
** AND FINALLY
Business leaders start streaming to drive sales
Some of China’s most prominent businesspeople, such as Trip.com’s Chairman James Liang to Dong Mingzhu, chairwoman of China’s leading air-conditioner maker Gree, are joining the trend of livestreaming e-commerce. Dong made her livestreaming debut on the Douyin platform on Friday night.
** LOOKING AHEAD
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