Beijing (AFP) – China warned Friday that its huge economy faces an immense challenge from the coronavirus, as the ongoing pandemic and national lockdowns caused massive job losses in the US and Latin America.
As Beijing’s communist rulers failed to set an annual growth target for the first time in decades, Asian markets fell, further battered by Chinese moves to crackdown on Hong Kong’s treasured autonomy.
New coronavirus infections have begun to dip in much of the world, but the economic damage from the pandemic is only just beginning, and the disease is continuing its deadly march in Latin America and Russia.
Governments are still struggling to balance measures to prevent the virus — and head off a feared possible second wave of infections — with moves to reopen their battered economies.
Britain confirmed Friday that it would impose a 14-day quarantine on international arrivals in addition to its ongoing social distancing rules, but US President Donald Trump is pressing to reopen his country’s economy.
Russia meanwhile, reported its highest ever daily coronavirus death toll of 150, suggesting the novel coronavirus is not yet under control in the world’s biggest country by area.
– ‘Great uncertainty’ -In the world’s largest country by population, China, the news was also grim.Premier Li Keqiang told the opening of the National People’s Congress that, given the "great uncertainty" caused by the pandemic, Beijing will not set a growth target but "give priority to stabilising employment and ensuring living standards".In Washington, Trump — with an eye on his re-election prospects in November — made it clear he hopes more US state governors will move towards a loosening of anti-virus […]