China will phase out measures aimed at reining in the overheating economy amid fears that the tough controls may lead to a hard landing, a press report said yesterday. \nCiting unnamed sources, the South China Morning Post said Beijing was expected to announce a decision to "adjust" its macroeconomic controls either later this month or early next month. \nThe announcement would be made during the annual national economic conference to plot growth targets for next year, it said. \nAt the conference, top government officials are expected to declare "preliminary success" in curbing runaway fixed-asset investment and bank lending. \nThey will likely stress that the planned withdrawal of administrative measures does not signal a relaxation of all macroeconomic controls, the newspaper said. \nThey are also expected to announce that macroecono-mic controls in general will remain a medium- and long-term policy to prevent the economy from overheating again. \nDespite the short-term success of the measures, an increasing number of local officials and economists have warned that the controls could become counterproductive if they were not relaxed. \n"The real situation is worse than what the official data has suggested," one source was quoted as saying. \n"Many banks have largely stopped lending for fear of breaching the central government's rules and this is not healthy," the source said. \nThe sources said policymakers had become less concerned about strong inflationary pressures, which may actually benefit rural areas. \n"Inflation is mainly driven by rising food prices but this is good news for the country's millions of far-mers," one source said. "The government does not want grain prices to drop just as it is planning to boost the living standards of farmers." \nSince the middle of last year, China has issued a series of administrative regulations aimed at cooling investment, particularly in overheated sectors such as steel, aluminum, cement, property development and car manufacturing.
KEEP AWAY: People should wear a mask in places where they cannot follow social distancing rules, the CECC said, adding that it would publish detailed guidelines today The Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) yesterday announced 16 new cases of COVID-19, including two domestic cases, as it urged people to practice social distancing in public spaces by keeping a distance of at least 1m when outdoors and 1.5m indoors. Minister of Health and Welfare Chen Shih-chung (陳時中), who heads the center, said that seven of the new cases tested positive upon their arrival at the airport, four were under home quarantine, one was under home isolation and two were under self-health management, while the two domestic cases sought treatment on their own. The domestic cases are a man in his
Taiwan will negotiate with the WHO about its participation without Beijing’s help and intervention as more countries, including Australia and Japan, are partnering with Taiwan to curb the COVID-19 pandemic, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said yesterday. US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo in a telephonic roundtable with reporters on Monday also supported Taiwan’s role in the WHO, saying the US Department of State would do its best to assist Taiwan’s “appropriate role” in the world’s highest health policy setting body, Voice of America reported. In a Japan Business Press report published on Sunday, Chinese Ambassador to Japan Kong Xuanyou (孔鉉佑) said
‘HEROIC’: A lack of personal protective equipment has led to high infection rates among health workers in places like Spain and Italy, a nurses’ association said More equipment is needed to protect the world’s nurses working on the front lines of the COVID-19 pandemic to save lives, the head of the International Council of Nurses (ICN) said. “They are heroic. I think there is no other way to describe what they are doing at this moment,” said Howard Catton, a British nurse who is the council’s CEO. Infection rates of 9 percent and 12 to 14 percent have been reported among health workers in Italy and Spain respectively, he said, adding that nurses have died in the two nations, as well as Iran and Indonesia. “We have no doubt
Japan’s ruling party yesterday proposed the nation’s biggest-ever stimulus package of ￥60 trillion (US$554 billion) as the COVID-19 pandemic locks the economy in a recession. The sum includes ￥20 trillion in fiscal measures with private initiatives and other elements likely making up the rest, the proposal by the Liberal Democratic Party showed. More than ￥10 trillion, or the equivalent of a 5 percentage point cut in the sales tax rate, would be handed out to the public in a combination of cash, subsidies and coupons, the plan showed. The proposal puts an initial figure on a stimulus package that Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo