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China: Business action and alleged inaction in response to spread of novel coronavirus 2020

The novel coronavirus originated in Wuhan, Hubei Province, China was declared by the World Health Organization as a global public health emergency on 31 January when the outbreak continues to spread within and outside China and new cases are observed in countries and cities across the world. As of 13 February 2020, tens of thousands of people are infected by the virus and over a thousand people have lost their lives, according to official figures.

In China, despite the virus outbreak, some factories have resumed normal operation after the Lunar New Year holiday. In Wuhan, where the virus originated, sanitation, construction and community workers as well as drivers struggle to keep the city functioning despite the lack of adequate protective gear.

In some countries, some firms have quarantined or stopped workers returning from China from resuming work to prevent the spread of the virus. In the US, American Airlines’ pilots have filed a lawsuit to seek an immediate halt of flights to China; airlines across the world have also adopted measures to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.

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