SINGAPORE (ICIS)--Business operations at Hubei - the epicentre of the coronavirus outbreak in China - will not resume until 11 March, a further delay from the 21 February schedule, as the number of infections and deaths continued to spike in the central province.
Companies engaged in production and supply of medical items for combating the epidemic; as well as utilities and those that cater to basic daily needs like supermarkets, will remain open as usual in Hubei, according to the provincial government.
Schools will remain closed with no firm re-opening schedule.
As Hubei is one of the largest manufacturing bases of vehicles and car parts in China, the delay in business resumption will be another heavy blow for carmakers already struggling with slumping demand.
In most of China, factories have resumed operations starting 10 February, after an extended Lunar New Year holiday which was meant to contain the spread of the coronavirus.
As of 20 February, the death toll from the flu-like epidemic in China stood at 2,236 to date, with 75,465 infected. Hubei has a 96% share of the total fatalities at 2,144 and 83% of the total infections at 62,662, according to data from China’s National Health Commission.
The new strain of coronavirus is believed to have emerged late last year in Wuhan, the capital of Hubei, and has since spread in China and more than 20 countries and regions.
New cases of the virus in the province continued to emerge on a daily basis although now down to hundreds from thousands.
Signs of peaking in the number of cases are still unclear, according to health authorities.
Photo: Doctors at the severe case ward of Tongji Hospital in Wuhan, Hubei province in central China. (Source: Xinhua/Shutterstock)
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