Embassy: Chinese business slowdown over coronavirus

Embassy: Chinese business slowdown over coronavirus
Chinese Ambassador Huang Qinguo (left)

NASSAU, BAHAMAS — Chinese Ambassador Chinese Ambassador Huang Qinguo said the embassy has taken note of slowed business in Chinese establishments in The Bahamas as public fears increase surrounding the Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19).

The virus has crept closer to the nation with over 100 cases and 10 deaths in Florida.

While there have been no confirmed cases on the virus in The Bahamas, Qinguo said it is an understandable response for residents to limit their patronage to Chinese businesses.

“We did receive reports from the Chinese community here, stating that due to worries about the spread of the virus, less people are going to the Chinese restaurants to have food. That’s a fact.” during a press conference at the Chinese Embassy on Shirley Street.

“It’s a national response that reducing the social contact could reduce the risk of spread of the virus.”

Last month, the Chinese Community Association of The Bahamas said it had seen a drop in Bahamians patronizing their members’ businesses, namely restaurants.

While acknowledging the fears concerning the virus, Lloyd Wong, treasurer of the association and proprietor of China Garden restaurant, said the Chinese community in The Bahamas is just as mindful of ensuring the virus does not spread to The Bahamas.

In efforts to prevent the outbreak from making its way to Bahamian shores, the government implemented a travel ban, blocking entry into the country to any non-resident who has visited China in the last 20 days and placed all returning residents from the country in quarantine for 14 days.

It tabled a quarantine order on Wednesday, declaring China an “infected place” for a period of six months, enabling authorities to quarantine and medically supervise any from that country.

Embassy officials said Thursday that new cases of the virus have slowed to fewer than 200 cases per day in China, and Chinese experts expect that by the end of the month there could be an outright decline of new cases.

Globally, more than 100,000 cases have been confirmed in over 70 countries.