Investors wiped around $420 billion from China’s premier stock index, as commodities were dumped amid the country’s accelerating Coronavirus outbreak. The Shanghai Composite tumbled almost 8% on Monday—the first day of trading after the Lunar New Year—as the country stumbles in its attempt to contain and ameliorate the effects of a virus that has claimed 361 lives to date.
Monday was the Shanghai’s worst day since August 2015. It came despite China’s Central Bank ploughing billions of dollars into the market, in an attempt to stabilize ongoing dumping that is causing concern across the financial world. New Year celebrations were extended by three days, during an outbreak whose death toll has already outstripped the 2002-03 SARS epidemic. On January 23rd, the last trading day before the holiday, the Shanghai Composite fell 2.8%.
Wuhan, where the virus first took hold, is still on lockdown. Countries including the United States have issued travel bans from China. Twenty countries have reported Coronavirus cases. The World Health Organization has declared the Coronavirus a global health emergency.
Chinese Communist Party leaders have scrambled to contain information regarding the virus – including pictures showing officials taking face masks from doctors, and barrages of negative opinions swirling around social media platforms like Weibo and WeChat. The country’s tech industry is watching events nervously, as experts predict there may be bottlenecks in supply chains and electronics production.
Tech has also provided several innovative solutions to the outbreak, however. Various interface companies, including InTouch’s Vici telehealth device, allow medical professionals to see patients remotely. Pittsburgh-based Aethon, meanwhile, has developed a robot called TUG that carries medical supplies round facilities without the need for a human operator. Both devices should ensure fewer caregivers become infected with Coronavirus.