Canada plans to take measures at some major airports in the coming week to identify people travelling from Wuhan in central China who may have flu-like symptoms.
The change comes as U.S. officials say three American airports will screen passengers arriving from central China for a new virus that has sickened dozens, killed two and prompted worries about an international outbreak.
Officials from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention say they will begin taking temperatures and asking about symptoms of passengers at New York City’s Kennedy airport and the Los Angeles and San Francisco airports.
The Public Health Agency of Canada says additional measures will include messaging on arrivals screens at the Toronto, Montreal and Vancouver international airports reminding travellers from Wuhan to inform a border service officer if they are experiencing flu-like symptoms.
There will also be an additional health screening question added to electronic kiosks.
The agency notes the overall risk to Canadians is low, there are no direct flights from Wuhan to Canada and the volume of travellers arriving indirectly from the city is low.
A new virus related to SARS is spreading in China
“We will continue to work with federal, provincial and territorial partners and public health authorities to enhance Canada’s preparedness to rapidly identify, treat and prevent the spread of this emerging disease should it present in Canada,” Tammy Jarbeau, a Health Canada media adviser said Friday in an email.
“Entry screening alone is not a guarantee against the possible importation of this new virus but is an important public health tool during periods of uncertainty and part of a multilayered government response strategy.”
Doctors began seeing a new type of viral pneumonia — fever, cough, difficulty breathing — in people who worked at or visited a food market in the suburbs of Wuhan late last month.
More than 40 cases of the newly identified coronavirus have been confirmed in Asia, including two deaths, although at least one involved a previous medical condition. Officials have said it probably spread from animals to people but haven’t been able to rule out the possibility that it spreads from person to person.
So far, the risk to the American public is deemed to be low, but the CDC wants to be prepared and is taking precautions, the center’s Dr. Martin Cetron said.
“The earlier we detect a case, the better we can protect the public, and the more we can understand about this virus and its risk for spread,” he said.
At least a half-dozen countries in Asia have started screening incoming airline passengers from central China.
The list includes Thailand and Japan, which both have reported cases of the disease in people who had come from Wuhan. Travel is unusually heavy right now as people take trips to and from China to celebrate the Lunar New Year.
© 2020 The Canadian Press
Bitcoin hovers near 6-month high on ETF hopes, inflation worries
Bitcoin hovered near a six-month high early on Monday on hopes that U.S. regulators would soon allow cryptocurrency exchange-traded funds (ETF) to trade, while global inflation worries also provided some support.
Bitcoin last stood at $62,359, near Friday’s six-month high of $62,944 and not far from its all-time high of $64,895 hit in April.
The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) is set to allow the first American bitcoin futures ETF to begin trading this week, Bloomberg News reported on Thursday, a move likely to lead to wider investment in digital assets.
Cryptocurrency players expect the approval of the first U.S. bitcoin ETF to trigger an influx of money from institutional players who cannot invest in digital coins at the moment.
Rising inflation worries also increased appetite for bitcoin, which is in limited supply, in contrast to the ample amount of currencies issued by central banks in recent years as monetary authorities printed money to stimulate their economies.
But some analysts noted that, after the recent rally, investors may sell bitcoin on the ETF news.
“The news of a suite of futures-tracking ETFs is not new to those following the space closely, and to many this is a step forward but not the game-changer that some are sensing,” said Chris Weston, head of research at Pepperstone in Melbourne, Australia.
“We’ve been excited by a spot ETF before, and this may need more work on the regulation front.”
(Reporting by Hideyuki Sano in Tokyo and Tom Westbrook in Singapore; Editing by Ana Nicolaci da Costa)
China’s plunging construction starts reminiscent of 2015 downturn
China’s September new construction starts slumped for a sixth straight month, the longest spate of monthly declines since 2015, as cash-strapped developers put a pause on projects in the wake of tighter regulations on borrowing.
New construction starts in September fell 13.54% from a year earlier, the third month of double-digit declines, according to Reuters calculations based on January-September data released by the National Bureau of Statistics on Monday.
That marks the longest downtrend since declines in March-August 2015, the last property malaise.
When the sector recovered in 2016 after authorities loosened their grip on purchases and development, tens of thousands of real estate firms borrowed heavily to build homes.
But as regulations tightened again this year, many of them have started to face a liquidity crunch, which was then worsened by sharply weaker demand due to tighter restrictions on speculative purchases.
Property sales by floor area dropped 15.8% in September, down for a third month, according to Reuters calculations based on the statistics bureau’s data.
The slowdown in the sector was also underscored by a 3.5% drop in property investments by developers in September, the first monthly decline since January-February last year at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic in China.
“All the data are poor,” said Zhang Dawei, chief analyst with property agency Centaline.
“Financing is hard, sales are tough, so of course, there has been no enthusiasm to build. For the first time in history, developers are encountering two blockages – blockages in sales and blockages in financing.”
The potential collapse of highly indebted real estate firms such as China Evergrande Group have raised concerns about systemic risks to the broader economy. The real estate sector accounts for a quarter of China’s gross domestic product.
Authorities will try to prevent problems at Evergrande from spreading to other real estate companies to avoid broader systemic risk, Yi Gang, governor of China’s central bank, said on Sunday.
On Friday, a central bank official said the spillover effect of Evergrande’s debt problems on the banking system was “controllable.”
“There is a likelihood that housing policies may loosen in the fourth quarter, and that would ease the pessimism in the property transaction data,” said Yan Yuejin, director of Shanghai-based E-house China Research and Development Institution.
On Friday, representatives from 10 Chinese Property Companies met government regulators to ask for an “appropriate loosening” on policy restrictions, financial news outlet Yicai reported.
China’s real estate shares have fallen 22% so far this year. On Monday, they were down 2.6% as of 0300 GMT.
In the first nine months, property investment rose 8.8% from a year earlier, slowing from 10.9% growth seen in January-August.
Funds raised by China’s property developers grew 11.1%, slower than the 14.8% rise seen in the first eight months.
(Editing by Jacqueline Wong)
Saks Fifth Avenue ecommerce unit aims for IPO at $6 billion valuation – WSJ
The ecommerce business of luxury department store Saks OFF 5TH is preparing for an initial public offering and targeting a $6 billion valuation, the Wall Street Journal reported Sunday, citing sources.
The company is interviewing potential underwriters this week for an IPO that could take place in the first half of next year, according to the report.
(Reporting by Sheila Dang; Editing by Daniel Wallis)
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