BEIJING — A respected neurologist who was director of Wuchang Hospital in Wuhan died Tuesday after contracting the novel coronavirus, despite a “full-effort rescue,” according to Wuhan’s municipal health commission.

Liu Zhiming, 51, became the most prominent victim of the outbreak since another doctor, whistleblower Li Wenliang, died Feb. 7, sparking an outpouring of public anger and grief. Liu’s death follows that last week of a nurse, Liu Fan, from the same hospital. A total of eight front-line health workers have died, while as many as 3,000 have been infected with the coronavirus.

The number of coronavirus infections across China continues to rise, although at a slower rate outside the epicenter of Hubei province.

Officials have been sounding a more upbeat note in recent days about the prospects for containing the virus. But a renowned Chinese pulmonologist who predicted a peak this month has since clarified his remarks to say that the peak may be followed by a plateau, rather than an outright fall in cases. Here is what we know:

● A neurologist and a retired nurse who returned to work have died after becoming infected while treating coronavirus patients in Wuhan, the outbreak’s epicenter. Their deaths bring the total number of medical workers who have succumbed to the virus to eight.

● A Chinese pulmonologist predicted the number of infections will plateau, rather than fall, after hitting a peak later this month. World Health Organization experts are still struggling to understand how fatal and contagious the disease is outside China due to a lack of data, WHO Director General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said at a news briefing Tuesday.

● The Diamond Princess quarantine will end as scheduled on Wednesday, said Japan’s health minister, as 88 more cases were discovered, bringing the total linked to the ship to 542.

● Russia will temporarily suspend entry of Chinese citizens due to the coronavirus outbreak starting Thursday, banning them from traveling to Russia for employment, tourism and education.

Chinese officials reported 74,185 cases of coronavirus in the Chinese mainland, including 2,004 deaths. In the past 24 hours China reported 1,749 new cases, using its newer metric, which includes both lab-confirmed cases and those confirmed by clinics. Outside China there are now 804 cases in 25 countries, with three deaths, WHO officials said at its daily news conference in Geneva on Tuesday.

12:50 a.m.
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Coronavirus death toll passes 2,000, with 136 new fatalities in China

Chinese health officials reported early Wednesday that the coronavirus killed another 136 people, all but four in Hubei Province, bringing the outbreak’s cumulative death toll to 2,004.

There were also 1,749 new cases of the novel virus, which has sickened more than 74,000 people to date, according to China’s health commission.

Sixty-two people have been infected in Hong Kong, ten in Macau and 22 in Taiwan.

11:55 p.m.
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The World Health Organization’s emergency division is woefully underfunded, report says

The World Health Organization division in charge of responding to the coronavirus outbreak is dangerously underfunded, the Australian Broadcasting Corp. reported, further fueling doubts about the U.N. agency’s ability to coordinate a global response to the deadly virus.

Leaked WHO audits showed that financing for the WHO Emergencies Program was so deficient that it posed a “severe” and “unacceptable” risk to the agency as a whole, according to ABC.

A separate risk assessment from March 2019 found that chronic underfunding of the program could lead to “failure to adequately manage multiple, simultaneous or consecutive [high-level] emergencies, resulting in poor performance and results at a country level,” the Australian national broadcaster reported.

A WHO spokeswoman played down the funding shortfall’s impact on the agency’s operations. “We have made strides in improved raising of finance and the fact that we have managed multiple grade-three emergencies simultaneously suggests that while a risk, we have managed it,” she told ABC.

The WHO has faced mounting criticism over its handling of the coronavirus crisis. The agency came under fire earlier this month from health experts who said the WHO director general’s praise for the Chinese government in the early weeks of the outbreak created a false sense of security as the virus swept across China.

“We were deceived,” Lawrence Gostin, a professor of global health law at Georgetown University who also provides technical assistance to the WHO, told The Washington Post. “Myself and other public health experts, based on what the World Health Organization and China were saying, reassured the public that this was not serious, that we could bring this under control.”

“We were,” he added, “giving a false sense of assurance.”

The WHO’s laudatory remarks about Chinese leadership — which came even as Beijing silenced whistleblowers and underreported infections — have strained the agency’s credibility, some experts said.

“I’m concerned about whether they can actually assume leadership effectively in terms of the international response,” said Yanzhong Huang, a senior fellow for global health at the Council on Foreign Relations.

Others echoed those concerns in comments to the Australian national broadcaster this week, questioning whether the WHO Emergencies Program, which was established in 2016, could fulfill its mandate without proper funding.

WHO’s program is “in a constant state of crisis,” Adam Kamradt-Scott, a global health security expert at Sydney University, told ABC. “They had a series of emergency health crises to deal with from day one … [and yet] they have consistently been forced to hold donor meetings to get more money into the fund.”

10:38 p.m.
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Number of Canadians aboard Diamond Princess with coronavirus jumps to 43

TORONTO — The number of Canadians aboard the Diamond Princess with coronavirus has jumped to 43, Canadian officials said Tuesday, an increase of 11 people from the day before.

The government is aiming to evacuate all asymptomatic Canadians and permanent residents from Japan on Feb. 20 or 21, Foreign Affairs Minister Francois-Philippe Champagne told reporters. The airplane that was chartered to bring them home experienced unforeseen technical issues during takeoff, he said, but is now en route.

It’s not clear how many Canadians want to board the flight.

Ottawa has faced criticism for being too slow to evacuate its Canadians, first from the epicenter of the virus’s outbreak in Wuhan, and now from the Diamond Princess. Critics point out that some Americans evacuated from the cruise liner have already arrived in the United States.

The evacuated Canadians will land in Trenton, Ontario, where they will be assessed. From there, they will be transported to the NAV Canada Training Institute in Cornwall, Ontario, for a further 14 days of quarantine.

Earlier in the day, Health Minister Patty Hajdu visited the hundreds of Canadian evacuees from Wuhan who are in quarantine at a Canadian military base. So far, none has tested positive for the virus.

10:20 p.m.
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Americans on Diamond Princess or in hospitals in Japan must undergo 14-day quarantine before returning to U.S., CDC says

U.S. health officials said Tuesday that more than 100 U.S. citizens still onboard the Diamond Princess cruise ship or in hospitals in Japan have been placed under travel restrictions, preventing them from returning to the United States for at least 14 days after they had left the cruise ship docked in Yokohama, Japan.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in a statement said the quarantine on the ship “may not have been sufficient to prevent transmission among individuals on the ship.” As a result, “CDC believes the rate of new infections on board, especially among those without symptoms, represents an ongoing risk.”

More than 300 Americans were evacuated from the cruise ship earlier this week and flown to quarantine centers in the United States, but some U.S. passengers chose to remain on the Diamond Princess. About 40 Americans who tested positive for the virus are in hospitals in Japan, U.S. officials have said.

To protect the health of the American public, the remaining U.S. passengers and crew of the ship will not be allowed to return to the United States for at least 14 days after disembarking, the CDC said. The Japanese government intends to start the disembarking process on Wednesday. According to a State Department spokesman, that process will take place “over a number of days.”

U.S. citizens will be receiving more formal follow-up notification from the CDC, the State Department said.

The CDC said the U.S passengers and crew and those in hospitals in Japan will be required to wait 14 days without having symptoms or a positive coronavirus test result before they are permitted to board flights to the United States.

If someone from the cruise arrives in the United States before the 14-day period ends, they will still be subject to mandatory quarantine until they have completed the 14-day period with no symptoms or positive test results.

Because of their high-risk exposure, the CDC said there may be additional confirmed coronavirus cases among the remaining passengers on board the cruise ship.

9:04 p.m.
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Large-scale quarantines probably violate international health regulations, experts say

Hundreds of millions of people across China are on lockdown. The government says the restrictions are needed to prevent the further spread of the coronavirus.

But under international health regulations that United Nations member states have agreed to uphold, China in some cases has not met the criteria for imposing quarantines, according to some public health experts.

International regulations allow for “the least restrictive measure needed to achieve the public health goal,” said Alexandra Phelan, a faculty research instructor in the Department of Microbiology and Immunology at Georgetown University. “The quarantine imposed must not be discriminatory or arbitrary, must have scientific basis, and must be the least restrictive option available.”

She added, “Quarantines on a large scale tend to be very arbitrary by their very nature. ... They are unlikely to meet this criterion.”

In the United States, the commerce clause of the Constitution provides the federal government the power to isolate and quarantine people, and the Public Health Service Act gives the U.S. secretary of health and human services the authority to take actions to prevent communicable diseases from entering and spreading from other countries and between states. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has been delegated with the powers to carry out daily efforts to this effect.

Globally, while international regulations apply, it’s up to each country to determine how it implements a quarantine — and whether it follows the agreed-upon guidelines.

In practice, “there aren’t a lot of sticks to enforce international health law,” said Lauren Sauer, an assistant professor of emergency health at Johns Hopkins University.

In the current case of China, public health experts have warned that widespread quarantines and travel bans could backfire by denying people needed medical care and pushing cases underground.

“The IHR [International Health Regulations] allows for the use of quarantine and isolation,” Sauer said. “But this scope and this sort of size of quarantine, this mass movement restriction, is unprecedented.”

Sauer said that the quarantine Japan imposed on the Diamond Princess, a cruise liner kept in isolation as increasing numbers of patients reported infections, could even have been a “violation of human rights” by keeping people locked up in close quarters with the virus.

She disagreed with the decision by the World Health Organization and some governments to initially support this approach. But she said the WHO was “doing the best they can in a very political climate.”

Sauer said her criticism of the ongoing quarantines, and calls for revising and clarifying quarantine guidelines, should not detract from the overall importance of supporting and improving public health institutions.

“We need the WHO and we will continue to rely on them and continue to support their responsive efforts as much as we can as a public health community,” she said.

8:15 p.m.
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WHO calls for countries to better prepare for coronavirus amid cruise ship incidents

World Health Organization officials said countries need to be better prepared to deal with the virus, in the wake of the chaotic way passengers on the MS Westerdam cruise ship were dispersed.

Passengers of the Holland America liner began to disembark Friday in Cambodia to begin their travels home. One of them, an 83-year-old American woman, tested positive on her arrival at an airport in Malaysia, sending public health officials scrambling because they assumed the ship was virus-free.

WHO Director General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said Tuesday that he had discussed the Westerdam case with Malaysia’s health minister the day before. “These signals show the importance of all countries being ready for the arrival of the virus to treat patients with dignity and compassion, to protect health workers and to prevent onward transmission,” Tedros said.

Experts note that the Westerdam situation demonstrates how travelers without obvious symptoms could slip through screening processes because authorities have been focused on monitoring only those who traveled to China or had close contact with an infected person.

To help countries better prepare, Tedros said the WHO has shipped supplies of personal protective equipment to 21 countries and will spend shipments to another 106 countries in coming weeks. By end of this week, he said 40 countries in Africa and 29 in the Americas will newly have the ability to detect covid-19. Many had previously been sending tests out of country and waiting days to get results.

7:55 p.m.
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How coronavirus is worsening U.S.-China tensions

The U.S.-China relationship was already tense amid ongoing battles over trade and cybersecurity. And then came the coronavirus outbreak. Through quarantines and targeted lockdowns, authorities have so far managed to keep the virus from spreading in the United States. But there are concerns over a new possible wave of infections, and U.S. officials have expressed frustrations with their Chinese counterparts over the levels of information they have shared about the virus.

These new stresses over managing a global public-health emergency sit on top of a deep well of mistrust. In Washington, antipathy toward China remains a rare source of bipartisan consensus on the Hill. Over the past month, U.S. lawmakers have questioned their country’s dependence on China for sourcing pharmaceutical products, publicly decried the World Health Organization’s exclusion of Taiwan from its meetings out of deference to Beijing, and aired concerns about China’s cooperation in reckoning with the spread of the virus.

Last month, Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross argued that the outbreak could spell good news for the United States because it may help “accelerate the return of jobs to North America.”

Some China hawks took an even more strident line. In the early stages of the crisis, Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.) called for a full shutdown of commercial travel between China and the United States. He later repeatedly floated the possibility that the outbreak could be the result of a deliberate Chinese bioweapon, much to the ire of Beijing’s envoy in Washington.

Experts soon poured cold water on Cotton’s speculative claims.

There’s the risk, though, that the ruptures caused by the virus could add to an already growing divide. “The coronavirus may end up being a tipping point in the decoupling process — companies that may have been on the fence about China could start moving their supply chains elsewhere,” wrote Rana Foroohar of the Financial Times.

6:55 p.m.
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Experts are still struggling to understand how fatal the coronavirus is

Just how fatal is the coronavirus? Experts are still struggling — months after the virus emerged — to answer that question. Epidemiologists trying to pin down a fatality rate for covid-19 say they simply lack enough reliable data.

On Monday, for example, China’s Center for Disease Control and Prevention published a study with the best and most conclusive statistics. Drawing on the patient records of 44,672 confirmed cases, Chinese researchers deemed the virus to have an overall fatality rate of 2.3 percent.

“The problem is they basically just took the total number of deaths and divided it by number of cases,” said Caitlin Rivers, an epidemiologist at Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security. “It’s not exactly the ideal way to understand fatality rate because it doesn’t take the element of time into consideration.”

The study didn’t take into account, for example, that the virus has a long incubation period, meaning many patients who were recently diagnosed and may go on to die were not recorded as fatalities. That could lead to an underestimation of the virus’s fatality rate.

At the same time, many experts believe the virus’s symptoms are so mild in some people — especially those who are young — that it is going undetected and undiagnosed. That could lead to an overestimation of the fatality rate.

In a Tuesday news conference, WHO officials talked of other barriers to their round-the-clock efforts to understand the coronavirus’s lethality.

Michael Ryan, WHO’s director for health emergencies, noted that while the Chinese CDC study showed a large drop in fatality rate compared with earlier estimates, there was likely “a huge bias at the beginning,” which overestimated its death rate.

“Remember at the beginning of the outbreak what people were finding were the severe cases. … And now, we are going out looking for less sick people,” Ryan said.

He recalled how something similar happened during the H1N1 pandemic when experts initially declared fatality rates of 10-20 percent before lowering them significantly as weeks passed.

Another wrinkle researchers must consider is how much more lethal the virus has proved to be in the epicenter in Hubei Province — 2.9 percent fatality rate — compared with in other Chinese provinces — 0.4 percent.

The sheer number of cases in Wuhan and Hubei province has put enormous pressure on the local health-care system, and some patients may be dying from insufficient health care and resources. Lessons Chinese doctors have learned in Wuhan are also being applied in other Chinese cities as the virus spreads, enabling them to reduce fatalities.

Those caveats aside, experts say, the Chinese CDC study contained critical information for researchers. It confirmed, for instance, a long-held suspicion by researchers that the virus is much more lethal for older people. The fatality rate for those over 80, for example was 14.8 percent. Meanwhile, the study found only eight deaths total since the outbreak began for the ages 0 to 29.

Those with existing medical conditions were also much more likely to die — with heightened fatality rates ranging from 10.5 percent with heart disease and 7.3 percent with diabetes to 5.6 percent for cancer.

One particularly perplexing study finding was a higher mortality rate among men (2.8 percent) than women (1.7 percent). Researchers, however, cautioned that that finding could be because of completely unrelated reasons — such as higher smoking rates among Chinese men, gender differences in immune response or women being more likely to seek medical help.

“But the biggest looming question is still the fatality rate and risk this virus poses,” said Rivers. “Anytime there’s an outbreak like this, we hold our breath a little bit, because it takes a lot of time and data before we will know exactly what we’re dealing with.”

6:20 p.m.
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Russia to temporarily ban Chinese citizens from entry

Beginning Thursday, Russia will temporarily suspend entry of Chinese citizens due to the coronavirus outbreak, Tass news agency reports.

Russia’s deputy prime minister, Tatyana Golikova, announced the move in a statement to reporters Tuesday. The restrictions will apply to Chinese nationals traveling to Russia for employment, tourism and education, Tass reports.

Russia announced at the end of January that it would be closing its 2,615-mile border with China, one of the world’s longest international borders.

Russia has reported two cases of coronavirus; both Chinese citizens. On Tuesday, the Russian Embassy in Japan announced that a Russian citizen who was onboard the Diamond Princess cruise ship had also been infected.

5:20 p.m.
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British couple aboard Diamond Princess say they have contracted the virus

LONDON — A British couple under coronavirus lockdown on the Diamond Princess cruise ship docked in Japan said Tuesday that they had contracted the virus during their time in quarantine.

“There is going to be a time of quiet. We have been proved positive and leaving for hospital soon. Blessings all xxx,” wrote David Abel, who has racked up almost 30,000 followers in the last two weeks.

Despite limited connectivity on the ship, David and his wife, Sally, have used Facebook and YouTube to keep friends, family and people around the world updated on life under quarantine. In posts, the pair have won hearts for their honest, informative and at times entertaining dispatches from their time on the ship.

The couple’s videos have generated thousands of views and comments from people asking questions and sending well wishes. Recent photos shared by David show a panoramic view of the bay and gulls flying past their cabin window.

Seventy-four British passengers are thought to be onboard the quarantined vessel, which has been tied up in Yokohama harbor. The British government and Foreign Office have come under fire for their response to the incident, with many critics saying not enough has been done to bring British passengers home.

In a post shared last weekend, Abel told those watching, “It has become far tougher than I ever imagined it could be.”

The couple’s son, Stephen Abel, has openly criticized the British government’s handling of the situation, telling BBC Breakfast that his parents were beginning to get “down.”

“They are not getting any communication from our country, so they are in the dark and feeling very unloved,” he said.

On Tuesday, the Foreign Office reassured people that it was working to bring Britons back home, tweeting, “Given the conditions on board, we are working to organise a flight back to the UK for British nationals on the #DiamondPrincess as soon as possible.”

5:01 p.m.
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WHO still struggling to say how contagious the coronavirus is outside China

WHO experts are still struggling to understand how fatal and contagious the disease is outside China due to a lack of data, WHO Director General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said at a news briefing Tuesday.

“We don’t have enough data on cases outside China to make meaningful conclusions,” Tedros said, noting that there have not been sustained human-to-human transmissions outside China except for the situation on the Diamond Princess cruise ship.

Amid criticism of how Japanese authorities and others quarantined the cruise ship, on which there was eventually a total of 454 infections among passengers, WHO officials also voiced support for the country’s government.

“It’s very easy in retrospect to make judgments on public health decisions made at a certain point,” said Michael Ryan, a WHO leader on health emergencies. The decision to quarantine “was much more preferable at the time than having people dispersed around the world, but obviously the situation on ground changed, and clearly there’s been more transmission than expected on the ship.”

Ryan, however, noted that WHO and others are eager to study the cruise ship transmission to understand what went wrong so they can apply those lessons to similar efforts in coming days.

WHO officials also expressed support and praise for China’s strict measures in recent days, which have been criticized by some as overly harsh and chaotic.

Chinese officials have described its effort as a “wartime” campaign against the virus. Such measures have included mass roundups of people suspected of being infected, isolation of patients without giving them adequate care and door-to-door surveillance and checks on residents.

“You can argue whether those measures are excessive or whether they’re restrictive on people, but there’s a lot at stake here, an awful lot at stake, in terms of public health and in term of not just the public health of China but people all over the world,” Ryan said.

Finding the balance between civil liberties or human rights and necessary restrictions is sometimes difficult, Ryan said. “Right now, the strategic and tactical approach in China is the right one.”

“We still have a chance of preventing a broader global crisis,” said WHO Director General Tedros. “WHO will continue working night and day with all countries to prepare them.”

4:34 p.m.
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Malaysia, Thailand and Singapore deny entry to MS Westerdam cruise ship passengers

Some passengers from the MS Westerdam cruise ship docked in Cambodia are being shunned on land and in air, following two weeks of being shunned at sea over coronavirus fears.

The cruise liner loitered in water for two weeks without any case of coronavirus after being repeatedly turned away at ports — only to then have one passenger be diagnosed with the virus after disembarking and traveling to Malaysia on Saturday.

News of the infection fed into fears of cruise ships and airports serving as unwitting incubators and transmitters of the virus causing covid-19. Malaysia, Thailand and Singapore announced Tuesday that they would not permit Westerdam passengers to fly via their airports, Bloomberg News reported.

The cruise liner, owned by Holland America Line, canceled an upcoming trip scheduled for Feb. 29 “out of an abundance of caution,” the company announced Sunday. It said it’s coordinating all efforts with the World Health Organization, as well as other public health bodies.

“We are in close coordination with some of the leading health experts from around the world,” Grant Tarling, chief medical officer for Holland America Line, said in a statement Monday. “These experts are working with the appropriate national health authorities to investigate and follow-up with any individuals who may have come in contact with the [infected] guest.”

For two weeks, MS Westerdam traveled the seas looking for a place to dock, after five countries refused it entry because of coronavirus fears. The ordeal ended Friday when Cambodia allowed the boat to land and for guests at last to leave the ship. Cambodia’s prime minister personally welcomed passengers at the port. The ship’s passengers came from 41 countries and territories, with U.S. citizens being the largest group represented, Bloomberg News reported.

Holland America Line has repeatedly said that there were no cases or suspected cases of coronavirus on board.

“On Feb. 10, 2020, all 2,257 passengers and crew were screened for illness including the taking of individual temperatures. No individual at that time was identified with an elevated temperature,” the company said in a statement Monday, adding “During the voyage there was no indication of COVID-19 on the ship.”

Guests who left the ship in Cambodia on Friday were subject to further health screenings by Cambodian authorities, which all passengers passed, and then cleared to start returning home. Holland America reported that none of the ship’s guests had traveled to China in the 14 days before the start of the trip.

Nonetheless, when an 83-year-old American woman who had been on the ship flew to Malaysia on Friday, authorities there tested her and found her positive for the virus, they announced Saturday.

MS Westerdam said that neither she nor her husband, who tested negative for the virus, reported any symptoms while on board.

4:02 p.m.
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Pompeo says it ‘took us too long’ to get medical experts into China

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said Tuesday that it took the United States “too long to get the medical experts into” China, and he urged Beijing to increase its openness as the epidemic continues to unfold.

“We hope that every country that has information, this includes China, will be completely open and transparent,” Pompeo said during a briefing in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. “It took us too long to get the medical experts into the country. We wish that could have happened more quickly. But we are hopeful that the Chinese government will increase its transparency [and] will continue to share this information.”

The Chinese government is under deep scrutiny of how it has handled the crisis.

While the director general of the World Health Organization, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, and President Trump have both repeatedly praised China’s efforts at containing the virus, critics both inside and outside of China have accused the government of initially covering up the extent of the virus as it began to emerge.

Pompeo also said Tuesday that the United States planned to provide $100 million in support to countries, including China, battling the covid-19 disease.

“We need to make sure that we got that right, and we’re doing everything we can to make sure that every place there’s risk, in countries where there isn’t a deep strong health care or public health infrastructure, the United States is providing important assistance,” he said.

One area where this money may go is Africa, where only six labs exist that can test for coronavirus. Africa has, so far, had only one confirmed coronavirus case: in Egypt. The Egyptian Health Ministry has not identified the victim, but has said the person is a “foreigner” and is being treated in isolation. An estimated one million Chinese nationals live on the continent of 1.2 billion people.

3:30 p.m.
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Coronavirus hurting China’s Belt and Road ambitions, experts say

The coronavirus outbreak is China is hindering some aspects of Beijing’s ambitious Belt and Road initiative (BRI), a trillion-dollar-plus global infrastructure investment.

Peng Qinghua, secretary general of China’s state-owned Assets Supervision and Administration Commission, said in a Tuesday briefing that the outbreak had caused “difficulties” in some overseas projects and that China was working toward gaining “support and understanding” from foreign partners, Reuters reported.

Jonathan Hillman, director of the Reconnecting Asia Project at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, said that many BRI projects had already been slowing before the outbreak. “In some cases, the virus opens the door for Chinese officials to blame poor-performing projects on factors outside their control,” Hillman said.

However, given the large number of Chinese workers employed in these overseas projects, a level of disruption is unavoidable, Hillman added. CSIS has estimated that almost 90 percent of BRI projects use Chinese contractors. Even if workers were likely to be allowed to travel soon, they could face additional quarantines.

“By now, the Chinese government is trying to isolate the spreading of the virus to Hubei Province and the province is on lockdown,” Yun Sun, director of the China program at the Stimson Center, said in an email. “That means all BRI projects that Hubei leads or participated in are affected for the time being.”

Wuhan — the capital of Hubei province, a major economic center and the epicenter of the epidemic — is linked to several BRI projects. On Tuesday, Malaysia barred the entry of 13 managerial staff on the $11-billion East Coast Rail Link after they returned to Hubei for the Lunar New Year holiday.

The coronavirus outbreak may expose some of the downsides of similar BRI projects — especially the widespread use of Chinese contractors that undercuts the initiatives, Hillman said.

“What China might worry beyond the temporary disruption is the psychological impact and the social stigma associated with China due to the coronavirus,” Sun said. “Projects can be resumed. Supply chains can be restored. But if countries become concerned about what byproducts those economic ties bring, the impact will be more long lasting.”