The Debate

How to contain coronavirus? China under lockdown as fear goes global

THE DEBATE
THE DEBATE © FRANCE 24
By: François PICARD Follow | Alessandro XENOS | Juliette LAURAIN
46 min

Can it be contained? The World Health Organization's emergency committee is meeting for the third time inside of two weeks as the coronavirus continues to spread globally. The UN agency stating that it's not nearly as deadly as the 2003 SARS epidemic that killed nearly 800 people, but the WHO boss is also apologising for minimising the risk at the outset. Should it have been declared a global emergency sooner? Was there political pressure on the part of China?

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With airlines suspending flights and foreign countries organising airlifts of their citizens, the stakes are immense. We evaluate the real danger as the country scrambles, putting its epicentre of Wuhan under quarantine. 

We also assess crisis management in a China where decision-making is more than ever top-down and where a tighter-than-ever control on information can prove a double-edged sword when authorities are trying to prevent panic. We ask about China's persistent image problem abroad and the backlash against the backlash here in France, with Asians - and not just those of Chinese origin - speaking out against the casual, everyday racism they have been subjected to since the outbreak of the current crisis. 

Produced by Alessandro Xenos, Juliette Laurain and Marion Lefevre.

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