At the beginning of December 2019, China has confirmed that they have been treating the first cases that were identified from patients with severe pneumonia in the hospitals in Wuhan, China. The World Health Organization (WHO) then named the disease caused by the SARS-like virus, COVID-19 which was later on declared as a pandemic on March 11, 2020.
The pandemic has severely affected the world’s entire economy. Presently, a second wave was believed to be reported in Wuhan and the northeastern border province Jilin which is now the new hotspot for COVID-19 in the country. The virus has now infected over five million people so far and has caused more than 330 thousand deaths throughout the world. The experts are still studying about the virus and are looking for a possible vaccine to stop this pandemic. Little is known about this virus, except from the possible incubation of 2 to 14 days with a mortality rate that varies by age, gender and pre-existing health conditions.
Coronavirus originated in animals and is usually not transmissible to humans. It is still not clear how the virus jumped from animals to humans. Since the start of the century, it is believed that coronavirus have jumped to humans which appears to have originated in bats. The Huanan Seafood Wholesale Market in Wuhan has been widely considered as the epicenter of the outbreak. According to the analysis of The Lancet, around half of 99 surveyed patients have history of exposure in the said market.
The Chinese government took an aggressive action at the start of the outbreak to combat the virus, which includes the cancelation of all Chinese New Year celebrations and a strict nationwide lockdown. A 25,000 square meter Huosshenshan Hospital was built in 10 days with a capacity of 1,000 beds to expand the hospital capacity. On April 08, 2020, China lifted the ten-week lockdown on Wuhan after no new deaths was reported for the first time. Since then, daily life was returning slowly and welcoming the new normal in the country. Recently, on April 17, 2020 health authorities in Wuhan revised its death toll, adding up 50 percent more fatalities.
Some of the well-known and big companies have shut down their operations due to this virus that have severely impacted global business and tourism. Travel restrictions were imposed inside and outside of China and on some countries, too. Due to its impact on China’s trade and effects on various industries across the world, the coronavirus is expected to result in a further slow down to the Chinese GDP growth in 2020.
In 2019, the growth in real gross domestic product (GDP) in China amounted to about 6.1 percent. Forecasts by the IMF expect a decline in GDP growth to 1.1 percent in 2020 due to the coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic, and GDP growth of 9.2 percent in 2021.
The current gross domestic product is an important indicator of the economic strength of a country. It refers to the total market value of all goods and services that are produced within a country per year. When analyzing year-on-year changes, the current GDP is adjusted for inflation, thus making it constant. Real GDP growth is regarded as a key indicator for economic growth as it incorporates constant GDP figures. As of 2019, China was among the leading countries with the largest gross domestic product worldwide, second only to the United States which had a GDP volume of almost 21.5 trillion U.S. dollars. The Chinese GDP has shown remarkable growth over the past years. Upon closer examination of the distribution of GDP across economic sectors, a gradual shift from an economy heavily based on industrial production towards an economy focused on services becomes visible, with the service industry outpacing the manufacturing sector in terms of GDP contribution.
Another important indicator for economic assessment is the balance of trade, which measures the relationship between imports and exports of a nation. As an economy heavily reliant on manufacturing and industrial production, China has reached a trade surplus over the last decade, with a total trade balance of around 351 billion U.S. dollars in 2018.