People wear protective face masks as they arrive at a market in Beijing on Feb 17, 2020. (Photo: AFP/Greg Baker) With the coronavirus sweeping through China and its neighbouring countries like Vietnam, it is not only the spread of the dangerous virus that worries many people, but how it threatens economic growth prospects. In the 2002-2003 period, the widespread severe acute respiratory syndrome that originated in China killed some 800 people. Known as SARS, it decelerated the Chinese economy, slashing its annual growth rate to just over 9 per cent in the second quarter of 2003, from 11 per cent from the previous one, before eventually ending in June that year. Also with a local outbreak of SARS at the time, Vietnam quickly acted to contain the outbreak within its borders and became the first country to be removed from the transmission list in April 2003. The nation rounded up its first half with GDP adding 6.9 per cent, 0.4 percentage point higher than in the same period of 2002. The end of 2003 subsequently witnessed the GDP growth topping 7.24 per cent, a five-year record. Picking up right after the virus was contained, the value of production and manufacturing… Read full this story
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