World News

Chinese listed companies ramp up virus efforts after president’s call

SHANGHAI (Reuters) – A number of Chinese listed companies – ranging from biotech firms, drugmakers, mask producers and thermometer manufacturers – announced efforts in response to a national call to fight the outbreak of the Wuhan coronavirus.

The new, flu-like virus, first discovered in the central Chinese city of Wuhan, has killed 17 and infected nearly 600 people. Cases have been detected in other major population centers, including Beijing and Shanghai, as well as overseas, triggering a public scramble for face masks and flu medicines.

Chinese President Xi Jinping has ordered all-out prevention and control efforts to fight the new virus, and urged governments at all levels to make people’s safety and health a top priority.

Tianjin TEDA Co <000652.SZ> said in an exchange filing on Thursday that its subsidiary, TEDA Filters, is stepping up production of filtration materials used in facial masks to meet surging demand.

Biotech firm Xilong Scientific Co <002584.SZ> said late on Wednesday that it has developed diagnostic devices for the new virus and will send the products to disease control centers in some parts of China.

Wuhan Guide Infrared Co <002414.SZ> told the official China Securities Journal that the company has donated 4 million yuan worth of infrared thermometer devices to the government of Hubei, the province where Wuhan is located.

Shares in TEDA, Xilong Scientific and Guide Infrared have jumped roughly 40%, 24%, and 9% this week, respectively. The blue-chip index CSI300 <.CSI300> is down nearly 4% during the same period.

Other firms, including biotech firm BGI Genomics Co <300676.SZ>, mask producer Guangzhou Improve Medical Instruments Co <300030.SZ> and drugmaker Guangdong Zhongsheng Pharmaceutical Co <002317.SZ>, have also disclosed efforts to help in the fight against the spread of the virus.

E-commerce platforms, including Alibaba’s Taobao, <JD.O>, Pinduoduo Inc <PDD.O> and <002024.SZ>, have announced crackdowns on price hikes of products needed to fight the virus as demand surges.

(Reporting by Samuel Shen and Brenda Goh; Editing by Neil Fullick)