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  • China is developing its own vaccine to counter the new coronavirus, which has already claimed the lives of 426 people.

    China is developing its own vaccine to counter the new coronavirus, which has already claimed the lives of 426 people. | Photo: Reuters

Published 4 February 2020

The coronavirus epidemic, which the World Health Organization has called a "public health emergency of international concern", could peak this February, a new report claims.

As the coronavirus spreads through China and other countries, and authorities report a record daily jump in deaths from 64 to 426, the Asiatic nation has begun testing the Russian drug Triazavirin, a direct-acting antiviral, in an attempt to cure the illness and stop the epidemic.

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At this moment, they have not yet succeeded in directly isolating the virus strain from infected patients in Russia, which would contribute to the development of an effective vaccine, the Russian Health Ministry deputy director, Sergei Krayevoy, said during a conference on Tuesday.

Nevertheless, China is developing its own vaccine to counter the new coronavirus, which has already claimed the lives of 426 people, while the number of people affected worldwide  exceeds 20,400.

The coronavirus epidemic, which  the World Health Organization has called a "public health emergency of international concern", could peak this February, said Zhong Nanshan, head of a Chinese team of experts set up to control and prevent coronavirus pneumonia.

As the virus expands, China readies measures to stabilize its economy

Chinese policymakers are readying measures to support an economy jolted by the virus outbreak that is expected to have a devastating impact on first-quarter growth, policy sources said.

Support measures will be concentrated on the retail, catering, logistics, transportation and tourism sectors, which are likely to be hit hard and are especially vulnerable to job losses, they said.

The government is debating whether to lower the planned 2020 economic growth target of around 6 percent, which many private sector economists see as well beyond China’s reach.

In order to minimize job losses, China’s stability-obsessed leaders are likely to sign-off on more spending, tax relief and subsidies for virus-hit sectors, alongside further monetary easing to spur bank lending and lower borrowing costs for businesses, according to the policy insiders.

This year is symbolically crucial for the ruling Communist Party to fulfill its goal of doubling Gross Domestic Product and incomes in the decade to 2020, turning China into a “moderately prosperous” nation.​​​​​​​

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