David Westin, World Health Organization, China discussed on Bloomberg Politics, Policy and Power


Council this is Bloomberg Wall Street week with David Westin from Bloomberg radio government institutions and businesses around the world are grappling with the corona virus which the World Health Organization named an international health emergency China first reported the outbreak on December thirty first in Wuhan the epicenter of the virus the country locked down of several major cities barring some fifteen million people from traveling and as the disease which spread to more than a dozen countries on four continents Chinese authorities allow the World Health Organization to send international exports to China to assist with containment of the virus some compare this one of ours to the sars outbreak in two thousand to two thousand three which killed seven hundred seventy four people in seventeen countries on you man well co founder of rice Hadley gates joins us now Stephanie Flanders and Joe weisenthal are still with us on your welcome good to have you here give us your sense right now where we are on the score of ours in China how bad is it well I just keep looking at the death rates and while this is a terrible outbreak certainly horrible for the city of Wuhan the Ebola virus a few years ago had a fifty percent death rate this has two percent so while it's terrible I think the government of China seems to be doing the right thing and hopefully we'll get it under control in the next couple of weeks that someone encouraging and it seems to be more contagious than some other bugs have been and also what about this possibility of being after actually contracted without any symptoms yeah and that's exactly right I mean I am here in San Francisco and we've got one case here and they're spreading around the world you also look at what's happening economically in China and of course there's you know the city of Wuhan which is eleven million people is completely shut down and you can't just discount that idea is something that we've seen that struck me is there is a a cruise ship this week in Italy seven thousand people board temporarily everyone was held in place in the end others is suspected case but the person didn't have it none the less the symptoms are probably symptoms that most people get in some form at least once a year so from a sort of disruptions standpoint even if it's not people are getting it even if it doesn't spread to one global even if it's not that fatal they did it seems like the potential for destruction is massive just of the fear that every time you call for have a fever you worry that you have that's right and you see the fear already I've seen some people here on the streets of San Francisco with face masks that's not usually something you see as you know of course airlines are canceling flights so I think the reaction to this has been appropriately strong and hopefully that because people are taking it so seriously that'll help us contain it and ultimately it'll do less damage I mean oversee all this the focus that a lot of people in the markets would have is what impact is this going to have on Chinese growth but also on companies operating in China may be very reliant on Chinese workers coming back from the new year holiday to folks call no other places to keep working in in tech industries so I'm just wondering how you see the I mean we've done some economists have been like we've done some estimates of how we think it could affect the Chinese economy just in the in the first quarter of this year and that could have ripple effects for the regional economy would you think we're on the rest amazing you know if if any we call Tues time we find that people on the of this this thing at home off to the new year holiday rather than going back to what I mean could it be a stick shift in the economic impact of this there certainly could be and just looking at the sars virus from two thousand three the Chinese economy it's gross drop by to percent that quarter used in the entire Chinese economy now of course was going gangbusters and it went from eleven percent gross to nine percent growth now the Chinese economy is already a bit wobbly and so the impact that this will have especially on the service sector on people going out I think is not to be underestimated how confident are we in the ability of the infrastructure health infrastructure in China to deal with this not very confident if you've ever been to a Chinese hospital there are some state of the art and there are many that are not at all and you see by the Chinese authorities struggling to build a brand new hospital of the thousand beds in a week that they are concerned about it so primary health care in China is still not at all up to western standards and I just feel very sorry for all the doctors and nurses were the first responders here it is one thing you know uses of the is that you know a lot of the emphasis in the first steps of these kind of prices on putting everyone in quarantine all stopping transportation of course the real key is the others local health institutions and how the first responders if you like you know how quickly can they respond I do worry a bit I mean China when you think of it as two towards the internet towards kind of any form of solidarity among citizens that's not controlled by the state you know all those it is there enough sort of social trust and transparency at the local level to make sure that officials are at us of being honest about the figures and working together to try to fix it yeah I think you put your finger on it the I have never seen a response this open and honest and up front by the Chinese government so I have to say so far if we can believe them they're doing a pretty good job this is the opposite of what happened with sars but on the flip side you know it's an autocratic state run by the Chinese Communist Party they've put people in jail for saying worrying things about the virus they're censoring social media so you can never be quite sure that you're getting the full story well going back to the question of building out then healthcare infrastructure around China I mean we've seen development of the social infrastructure over the years obviously I remember everyone remembers the tainted infant formula crisis that China had several years ago now that's not as much of a big deal could this be a catalyst so that you know say ten years from now China's on hospital infrastructure world health care system is significantly more robust in part due to investment spurred by this crisis I hope so I mean it's it's an under reported story but China really has been investing a lot in its health care infrastructure they know that they are behind so if you were a western hospital group pharmaceutical company China has been a good market for you the last couple of years that the Chinese know that their social safety net is still weak so the last couple of years the Communist Party has really focused on shoring up pensions shoring up health insurance making sure that the livery of services that are now they're in the middle of that but I think you're right maybe this outbreak will spur even more of it another positive thing I want to mention is it's it now sounds like from the reporting that the virus actually started because people eat or engage with exotic animals and I saw the Chinese government put out a ban on that which is good not only in China but frankly is good for environmentalists and for anti poaching efforts in a really good point thank you so much I know that's on your mind while of rice Hadley gates seven Joe organising with us you can check out what's coming up next week on Wall Street week by heading to Bloomberg markets official Twitter account will pull each week focused on what you'd like to hear from our contributors results for this week are in the fed says it's committed to see how climate change will impact finance and economics the central banks have a responsibility to mitigate the climate 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