Asian stock markets bounced on Wednesday as China’s response to a virus outbreak tempered fears of a global pandemic, although Shanghai shares slipped amid worries about a hit to domestic demand and tourism.
Fears of contagion, particularly as millions travel for Lunar New Year festivities, has pushed stocks from record peaks.
The outbreak has revived memories of the Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) epidemic in 2002-03, a coronavirus outbreak that killed nearly 800 people and hurt world travel.
Yet this time, China’s response and candor – in contrast to the initial cover-up of the SARS outbreak – has tempered some of the gravest fears about the possible global fallout.
China’s National Health Commission said on Wednesday there were 440 cases of the new virus, with nine deaths so far. Measures are now in place to minimize public gatherings in the most-affected regions.