HONG KONG/BEIJING – Hong Kong reported its first death from the newly identified coronavirus on Tuesday, the second outside mainland China from an outbreak that has killed more than 420 people, spread around the world and raised fears for global economic growth.
China’s currency and stock markets steadied in choppy trade after anxiety over the virus hit the yuan on Monday and erased about $400 billion in market value from Shanghai’s benchmark index.
Macau, the world’s biggest gambling hub, said it had asked all casino operators to suspend operations for two weeks to help curb the spread of the virus.
In another announcement that will compound worries about the economic impact, Hyundai Motor (005380.KS) said it would gradually suspend production at its South Korean factories because of supply chain disruptions from the outbreak.
The Hong Kong death took to 427 the toll from the virus, including a man who died in the Philippines last week after visiting Wuhan, the central Chinese city at the epicenter of the outbreak.
Chinese authorities said the toll in China rose by a record 64 from the previous day to 425, mostly in Hubei, the virtually locked down province whose capital is Wuhan.
New cases were reported in the United States, including a patient in California infected through close contact with someone in the same household who had been infected in China.
It was the second instance of person-to-person spread in the United States after a case reported last week in Illinois.
“We expect to see more cases of person-to-person spread,” said Dr Nancy Messonnier, director of the National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
The total number of infections in China rose by 3,235 to 20,438, and there were at least 151 cases in 23 other countries and regions.
The World Health Organization (WHO) has declared the flu-like virus a global emergency and experts say much is still unknown about the pathogen, including its mortality rate and transmission routes.
Such uncertainties have spurred extreme measures by some countries to stem the spread.
Australia sent hundreds of evacuees from Wuhan to a remote island in the Indian Ocean, while Japan ordered the quarantine of a cruise ship with more than 3,000 aboard after a Hong Kong man who sailed on it last month tested positive for the virus.