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Automatic TRANSCRIPT

The corona virus continues to spread around the world and has now been found in every mainland province. China infections have been found in at least fifteen eighteen other countries in all. They're already more cases than there. Were in the two thousand. Two outbreak of the related SARS virus international responses are wrapping up this morning. Russia's prime minister said the country would be closing its border with China authorities in Australia and Britain have quarantined returning travellers to British Airways and other airlines have canceled flights altogether into and out of China. Today the World Health Organization will meet to discuss whether the outbreak constitutes a global health. Emergency in any case. It's certainly a national one. So I am in China We have had thirty eight more deaths today So we're now two hundred seventy the dead. David Rennie is our Beijing bureau chief and has been visiting villages on the edge of WHO bay the province. which is the epicenter of the outbreak? We have seven thousand dozens seven hundred cases worldwide which almost all of them are here in China they are also being found now. In more than a dozen countries mostly people people traveling from China while sick and turning up in those countries we have evacuation flights going on. We've had the French due to leave today. The Americans left recently recently the Japanese. There's a problem with the fight for British nationals in the epicenter city of Wuhan where the Chinese are playing very hardball as far as we can telling if say the wife of a British businessman also has a Chinese nationality with a child has both nationals. Not letting them leave. Because China in some ways seems to feel he is one of the artery evacuating foreigners as if they can't be trusted to look after them and so the the entire province of who bay is essentially on lockdown. What does is that actually look like on the ground? It's very strange. This is kind of the Chinese Christmas. It's still lunar New Year Villages should be full of people back home from the cities to see their families. I should kids everywhere because school is out. But it's supposed to be a ghost town as you start driving even to ask down away from the WHO bay border. Each village on the roads down has has blocked the entrances with kind of pause model concrete. Pipes there are people guarding villages. Telling people to stay out when you get close to the border there. Police checkpoints are medics six in protection. Suits mosques goggles taking. Everyone's temperature and that's a pretty tense. Because if you're running a fever any reason at all then you could be stuck in two weeks according to you in the nearest Chinese hospital and so how are the people in those border areas dealing with it. How are they feeling about this? Strange situation well. Although from the outside this kind of massive quarantine which is now basically trapped tens of millions of Chinese people in their own homes from the outside that looks draconian and slightly scary strangely. Strange when you're on the ground actually the idea that they can do something anything to keep themselves safe by shutting foreigners out of the village or keeping their kids locked up inside is almost a source of comfort Kmart so one of the strangest place I went was the very last village are before you get the WHO bay border. It's a pretty scruffy village. It's just off the laws motorway exit and they have about two hundred people who have come home for Spring Festival from the city of Wuhan. Outbreak is at its most intense and so they have all been placed on lockdown at home. There are signs in the street saying they may not go out. They can't see relatives. They can't visit friends. I met about Mr Deng. He's a farmer a wheat farmer Vondra show in town and he has two little grandkids and they were kind of peeking their heads out of the front door of his scruffy farmhouse. But he would not let them on the street even though they should be out playing because it's the biggest holiday of the year and he said that you know of course fools. Everyone is worried because from that place you can even into Hubay so the idea is just across the horizon. Has everyone very image. So it's only in an authoritarian country like Mike Chinaware. That kind of lockdown can be done but I mean by the way you described it. It sounds as if it's working with the public. It has the kind of caution that is the suits this situation. So it's It gives people comfort. So He's supposed to the party secretary of the Village Way g he writes the border. The borough who you know. He has the comfort of of paperwork. which if you're a bureaucrat is is what you want? So he has been gene quarantining everyone in the village who came from the city of Wuhan. They're having the temperature taken twice a day. They reported that back up. The next level of government. There's notices. He's on every shop front telling people don't go out. Don't see strangers keep outside as a way so that is the comfort and there's a medical reason that if you stop what people having lots of contact you avoid big crowds that can at least delay the peak of an epidemic which gives you know the people developing vaccines somewhere in a laboratory far away a bit more time but I think you will see outside. Experts say this kind of really blunderbuss lock. Everyone in the whole area in their houses. Approach isn't isn't how you basically stop these things that actually in richer western countries the approach is much more targeted. You literally try and find the people who are infected and then you have these disease disease detectives who try and track everyone that they have met and that is how you stop an infection. That problem with is really tra- coenen approaches. That you frightened people who who might not want to get put an clinic. You flight frighten them and they go into hiding in one of the big promises announced this shutdown says you've ruined city eleven million people but then there was a bit of a delay and so perhaps a million people just disappeared between the announcement and the lockdown. And that's not what you want and so all told how. How prepared would you say the Chinese authorities were for this et relative to for instance the the SARS outbreak in two thousand two? So that's a very low all because back in two thousand to two thousand three when we had this other new virus saws. China spent several months just basically lying through its teeth and denying that this was a problem at all and that led to really hundreds of avoidable. Deaths it was a really disgraceful time. When you had doctors tried to tell the truth getting punished getting getting silenced? China clearly is trying to behave very differently. This time. They've identified the virus they are dealing with the international health organizations like the. Who but there are still question marks about why it took several weeks for the authorities in the main epicentres Wuhan to admit that there was human to human transmission mission. There was a real shortage of testing kits so I think that the verdict is still out on whether China should be praised or criticized for where is handling as well either way the the effect of essentially shutting down entire cities provinces scaring people into their homes even far from the epicenter. That's got ought to have huge effects on on the economy. Certainly the numbers are really really dramatic. I mean basically I mean this is for example. You can go buy sector-by-sector all all major. Tourist sites are closed at the busiest time of the year. This should be the biggest time of the year. For box office takings in cinemas eleven thousand cinemas in China are closed should be a time for massive sporting events. I mean it's like Thanksgiving or Christmas in America. That's this time of year everything's closed and so you're seeing economic predictions that the next GP numbers could see two percent. Growth is one of the numbers. We've seen thrown out there now. We haven't seen two percent growth in China since at the time of chairman mouse. You know they've been doing six seven percent growth in recent times so that'd be an extraordinary hit. Now that all depends really does of does. Does this knock. You know the the global economy six. It really depends how long this outbreak loss so remember that outbreak of Saws Two thousand to two thousand and three which killed nearly eight hundred people. People there was a very very shop. Hit the China's economy but it bounced back because it didn't last that long and then there was a lot of delayed spending and and on a consumption kicked back up this time round of the Chinese economy is a huge amount. Bigger this time round Chinese consumers Chinese tourists wrists a much more important. factor in global economic growth. So there's a lot of people who if China just disappears from global global economic growth this year people in a lot of countries against take a