Gold prices rose slightly on Thursday as the death toll from the coronavirus outbreak in mainland China soared to 563, with thousands of people trapped on quarantined cruise ships in Hong Kong and Japan.
Spot gold rose 0.4 percent to $1,568.95 per ounce, after having fallen to a more than two-week low of $1,546.90 in the previous session. U.S. gold futures were also up 0.4 percent at $1,568.75.
China said it has lodged diplomatic protests with countries whose airlines have cancelled flights to Chinese cities alleging that they are spreading panic in the wake of deadly coronavirus.
“We deplore and oppose those countries who went against WHO’s professional recommendations and ICAO’s bulletins and have lodged stern representations with them,” foreign ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying said.
Initially, there was some optimism around the measures put in place by China’s authorities to deal with the outbreak to support their economy. There were also reports of a breakthrough treatment for the coronavirus.
World Health Organization officials, however, damped down expectations of imminent breakthroughs in the development of vaccines or treatments for the virus outbreak that has sparked fears of an economic slowdown in China.