Shares Of Chinese Drug Makers Jump On Fears Of New Coronavirus

Growing concerns of the countrywide spreading of the new coronavirus in China has resulted in a sharp increase in the stock price of Chinese drug makers.

Rise of more than the 10 per cent daily limited was recorded by a number of Chinese pharmaceutical giants on the Shanghai and Shenzhen stock exchanges.

This sudden change in the stocks of pharma companies took place after China confirmed that the new coronavirus could be spread through humans as well.

With the outbreak of the virus now spreading from Wuhan to other major Chinese cities, there has also been about a 300 per cent increase in the number of people falling sick because of the virus.

What has made the situation more alarming is the Chinese New Year holidays when millions of Chinese people are expected to travel within as well as outside of the country.

The drug makers that gained 10 per cent or more included Jiangsu Sihuan Bioengineering, Shandong Lukang Pharmaceutical, and Hengrui Medicine. There was also an increase of 10 per cent in the stocks of face mask manufacturers Tianjin Teda and Shanghai Dragon.

According to regulations governing stock markets and stock prices in China, the price of any single stock is allowed to increase or decrease by only 10 per cent in a day.

The gains made on Tuesday by Chinese pharmaceutical companies followed sharp gains made the day before also.

However the stock price has fallen for Chinese airlines, tour and hotel companies. For example, there was a fall in the share price on Monday and Tuesday for the state-owned Air China and the BTG Hotels Group.

Starting Friday 24 January to Thursday 30 January, stock markets in China will be closed for five working days in the “Golden Week” holiday.

Scientists have identified the new virus to be a new strain of coronavirus which had not infected humans and how identified in humans earlier and it has been labeled as 2019-nCoV. There are a large number of viruses in the coronaviruses family of viruses but only six of them were previously known to infect humans.

An animal source is “the most likely primary source”, believes scientists. But there has been some human-to-human transmission as well for the new virus. Respiratory problems, fever, cough, shortness of breath and breathing difficulties, are among the symptoms of this new virus infecting people.

Chinese authorities have advised people not to get into “unprotected” contact with live animals, and with anyone who has a cold or flu-like symptoms and eat meat and eggs, after thoroughly cooking them.

Till now most of the cases of the virus infection have been reported from the city of Wuhan even though there have been some reports of people showing similar symptoms in Beijing, Shanghai and Shenzhen.

The virus is also similar to the SARS virus which turned into a pandemic in Asia killing 774 people throughout a number of countries about two decades ago.

(Adapted from BBC.com)

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