Until a couple of hundred years ago, almost all inventions and discoveries were made in Asia and especially in China, from the plough to paper money and from rockets to the wheelbarrow. With the advent of modern science the centre of invention moved to Europe, only to travel still further west to North America in the last century.
It seems the SARS-CoV-2 is following the same route. In China very few new cases and deaths were announced in the last week, many of them based on persons travelling to China from other parts of the world. In South Korea, the peak for new infections recorded was March 3rd and for deaths recorded March 10th.
Almost all countries in the world, officially 156 as of March 15th, have announced at least one infected person. Still, the total number of deaths is still below 1,000 (at 705 March 15th) in the 153 countries and regions outside of China, Iran, and Italy.
The biggest increases are currently seen in Europe, where the panic is the only peaking development, with borders between EU countries closed for the first time in decades and curfews announced for whole countries including Italy, France, Spain and Poland. Schools and Kindergarten facilities, football stadiums and even churches become no-go areas in more and more European countries. Parents have to figure out how to entertain their kids indoors for a month or more – and cannot even rely on the grandparents to take over – so they can keep on going to work.
Taking a clue from the development in Asia, it will probably take several more weeks before the peak is reached in the number of persons dying from the virus in Europe. And unfortunately it seems very likely that the massive growth rates of fatalities will by that time have moved on to North America.
The first CoViD-19 related death outside of China occurred on Feb. 2nd in the Philippines, and outside Asia on Feb. 19th in France. In both cases elderly Chinese tourists were the victims. From what we know until now, it may well be that by April 22nd the USA see their peak in virus victims, with the Jules Verne title “Around the world in 80 days” taking on a new sinister meaning.
How will Chinese outbound tourism develop afterwards? COTRI has some specific answers at least on how to influence this in a good way for specific destinations and market segments now, so wash your hands and organise a webinar with us.
Best wishes more than ever from Prof. Dr. Wolfgang Georg Arlt and the COTRI WEEKLY team.