Passenger travel would likely fall 45% on-year during the 40-day travel season that ends Feb. 18, Liu Xiaoming, a vice minister at the transport ministry, said at a briefing in Beijing Saturday. Between Jan 25. and Feb. 14, airlines carried an average of 470,000 people a day, only a quarter of last year’s volume. Passenger numbers from Feb. 15-23 are estimated to be one 10th of the peak period, said Li Jian, deputy head of the Civil Aviation Administration of China.

A leap in coronavirus cases in Hubei gave markets pause – for all of 24 hours. Then attention shifted back to the global case-count and the rally resumed. But while investors are focused on containment, the world’s second-biggest economy is idling. President Xi Jinping may have urged officials to refrain from “more restrictive measures,” to limit the economic fallout but that’s happening anyway. Steel mills lack supplies for want of drivers. Empty restaurants are throwing out food, while out at sea, freighters are scrambling to re-route perishables, including several hundred containers of chilled chicken feet. Automaker GAC allows only half its employees to work each day at its Guangzhou headquarters, and it’s a similar story at many other firms.

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