Severe shortages: Amid coronavirus outbreak, China struggles with need for more masks, hospital beds, medical equipment 

WION Web Team New Delhi, India Feb 06, 2020, 04.37 PM(IST) Edited By: Sparshita Saxena

File photo. Photograph:( Reuters )

Story highlights

As the country shudders under a shutdown, the manufacturing sector has taken a hit leading to a disruption in the supply chain. 

While the world battles to counter the growing threat of coronavirus, another looming crisis is already taking shape in China, the economic one. 

As the coronavirus outbreak poses a grave threat to China, the country is also facing the gaping problem of shortages of various articles. 

According to reports, China is estimated to lose a whopping $60 billion to nCoV crisis. 

As the country shudders under a shutdown, the manufacturing sector has taken a hit leading to a disruption in the supply chain. 

Capable of churning out over 20 million masks daily, China is now faced with its shortage. With the death toll escalating to over 500 people, panic buying is taking a toll on the availability of preventive masks. 

Beijing has also put curbs on exports of raw materials and equipment used to make masks. Last week, India banned the export of personal protection equipment such as masks and clothing. In such a situation, hoping to import preventive masks from India also looks out of option for China. 

As per Chinese media reports, some areas in the countries are also faced with a severe shortage of hospital beds. 

Also read: India bans export of protective masks, clothing amid coronavirus outbreak

As the number of infections and confirmed positive cases soars in China, the authorities said they are now faced with a severe shortage of hospital beds and essential equipment. 

The authorities are leaving no stone unturned to contain and tackle the deadly outbreak - from building a hospital from scratch to converting public buildings like schools and hotels to treatment centres to accommodate more people. 

Health officials in Wuhan complained of a “severe” lack of beds and other medical “equipment and materials”.

China, which is effectively the world's manufacturing hub has locked down cities and firewalled millions of people.

While the coronavirus has still managed to make way across continents, Chinese exports are hit and global supply chains are experiencing tremors.

Also read: What happens if the coronavirus breaches Asian megacities?

The sense of malaise in the Chinese manufacturing sector is also making its presence felt on the global level. Just a couple of days back, global auto-making giant Hyundai said it is stopping production lines at its South Korea factories temporarily due to the shortages of Chinese parts.

Meanwhile, China's poultry farmers are also in distress and estimating the loss of millions of chickens owing to poultry feed. 

The death toll in the coronavirus rose to over 560 with the number of infections surging to 28,000. 

Hubei's health commission confirmed at least  2,987 new cases as the virus showed no signs of abating.

Also read: Death toll climbs to over 560 in China; 10 more infected on Japan ship

The virus which has already spread to twenty countries reached a  cruise liner in the port of Yokohama south of Tokyo where ten more people tested positive with nearly 3,700 people on the ship facing two weeks quarantine on the Diamond Princess.

Last week, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared coronavirus an international health emergency. It has requested for 613 million euros in donations for a plan to fight the novel coronavirus.

The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation pledged to commit up to $100 million.