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The global economy gets the flu

A thoughtful, measured approach is best when considering the impact of something like the coronavirus. 

It’s not just from a personal health standpoint; the global economy feels the pain.

Lawrence P. Howorth, director of the Mayor’s Office of International Business, is following the news coverage and offers a few tips.

Non-essential travel is not recommended at this time to and from China and South Korea, especially for older adults and those with chronic respiratory conditions such as asthma. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention offer many business and health care resources.

“Several individuals from the Richardson area with planned travel to Japan in March have not as yet cancelled those plans and are taking a ‘“wait and see’ approach,” Lawrence said. However, many events in the countries of concern have either cancelled or are considering cancelling large public events and extreme caution is urged. Of course, cautionary practices – hand washing, masks, avoidance of close contact, shaking hands, etc. are recommended.

“I think that travelers need to consider two things – one, their own health and two, potential transmission of the virus to family members and work colleagues,” he said. “And while one does not want to be overly alarming, erring on the side of caution is often the best course of action. The issue we have currently is the lack of specific knowledge as to the numbers of individuals infected and their locations because of the lag in reporting.”

From a business perspective, the COVID-19 coronavirus has the supply chains of the world in chaos. With so much dependency on China for components and finished goods in the past, the interruption of the flow of goods from that country is having a huge negative knock-on effect on businesses around the world.

“I am seeing a frantic search for alternative suppliers including bringing home (to the USA) production of some of those components,” he said.
Some supply out of China has already shifted to neighboring Asian countries and Mexico due to pricing and "just-in-time" inventory management. Many countries need to move quickly if they are to benefit from this escalating shift of sources. Efficient and agile supply chain management supported by current technologies have always been and will be even more important to the economic health of business enterprises.

On the good news front, app developers are seeing a surge in downloads.
Shawn Yang, managing director at the investment bank Blue Lotus Capital Advisors, told the Financial Times: "No one expected that this kind of epidemic could grow so fast, and that created an opportunity for these gaming companies."

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