The President of China Xi Jinping assured President Trump in a phone call that China has been doing all it could to contain the coronavirus epidemic that has killed nearly 640 people.
Xi called Trump on Friday and claimed that China was “fully confident and capable” of defeating the coronavirus epidemic. According to Reuters, the Chinese president has declared a ‘people’s war’ on the epidemic and said that China would respond with all its strength and the most thorough and strict prevent and control measures.
The statement comes after Li Wenliang, an ophthalmologist who broke the news of coronavirus on social media, passed away. Li, 34, received a rebuke and admonishment from Wuhan’s police, who labeled him as a rumormonger. The death of the whistleblower doctor has fuelled public anger about how China responded to the disease in its initial phase.
Why It Matters
China has been grappling with the spread of the coronavirus epidemic as Beijing begins to resemble a ghost town. Twenty four provinces, municipalities, and regions in China have instructed businesses not to resume work before Feb. 10. Meanwhile, Hubei, the province at the epicenter of the disease, will remain closed down till Feb.14.
Barron’s reports that Hubei is an important hub for the automobile industry, there are over 70 supplier plants in the province. Automakers that would be affected, among others, include Honda Motor Co Ltd (OTC: HNDAF) and General Motors Company (NYSE: GM).
The impact on automotive supply chains is already making an international impact with Hyundai Motor Co (OTC: HYMTF) shutting down its factories in South Korea temporarily, while US and EU carmakers are only weeks away from parts shortages.