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Coronavirus Outbreak has Major Impact on Business; Americans Secure Seats for Flight Home
Now considered the epicenter of China’s health crisis, the Wuhan virus outbreak has affected nearly 3,000 Chinese citizens, killing at least 82 thus far. On Tuesday, hundreds Americans—namely business travelers—are preparing to leave after the Hubei capital shut down all travel to and from the country.
Many Americans were unable to secure a flight, while others have made the decision to remain in Wuhan as the emergency status levels out. Still, even Americans who have secured a seat will struggle to find transportation to the airport, as many roads as public transportation options have been shut down.
Several other countries have begun investigating travelers who have come from Wuhan over the past several weeks. Australia recently confirmed four people in the country had the coronavirus. Meanwhile, the US Centers for Disease Control has remained transparent throughout their investigation, publishing and updating detailed findings about its investigation. To date, 73 people are still under investigation, 32 tested negative, while 5 tested positive.
These factors considered, it’s clear that the Wuhan outbreak has a significant impact on business travel in China. After all, Wuhan is an important hub for global corporations. The city has 500 facilities in the supply chain database, ranking it 13 out of 200 cities for business in the country.
Of those facilities, 44 are U.S.-based and 40 are European. These plants include major corporations like PepsiCo. Inc., Honda Motor Co, Siemens AG, and other important companies across the transportation and auto industries. In other cities, chain businesses are following suit. Shanghai’s Disneyland resort shut down, McDonald’s stores across major cities did the same, and Starbucks announced it would close 90 of its shops in the Hubei province.
According to Jude Blanchette, head of China studies at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington, the outbreak has come at potentially the worst time of the year for businesses. “[Lunar New Year] is the single biggest economic event in China where last year there was upwards of $150 billion spent during the period, so the economic implications could be significant,” he told CNN.
With Lunar New Year comes the largest human migration on Earth; hundreds of millions of Chinese travelers take trips to reunite with their families. This year, major hotels like Wyatt and Marriott will waive hotel fees, and travel from this year to last has plummeted significantly.
In an attempt to slow the coronavirus outbreak from spreading, the country has taken significant strides to lock down cities with a combined 40 million people (five times the amount of people living in New York City). Still, considering the vast amount of worldwide businesses, the outbreak is poised to result in serious economic and financial implications.
This article does not necessarily reflect the opinions of the editors or management of EconoTimes.