Experts have voiced mixed opinions on external influence on the hype around the coronavirus outbreak in China at the regular meeting of the Expert Community project “Coronavirus: Economy of Fear.”

Analyst with the Belarusian Institute of Strategic Research Aleksei Avdonin suggested analysing the events that preceded the outbreak. He focused on the trade war between the USA and China which has lasted for the past three years.

In January the countries signed the agreement on the first phase of the trade deal.

“Right after this, the topic of the coronavirus has been brought to light rapidly. We can clearly see a certain connection here,” Aleksei Avdonin believes. He quoted Western analysts who said that the U.S. policy in the talks with China lacked effectiveness.

Aleksei Avdonin pointed out that the previous outbreaks of diseases in China and other countries did not receive so much attention.

“It is obvious that the situation with the coronavirus was inflamed by the global media. It had a great impact on the global economy and China’s economy. It appears that the event is regional but the scale is global as it affects all global stock and commodity markets. We have also seen a drop in oil prices,” he said.

All theories have the right to exist, including the one about external influence, said Vadim Sugak, the Head of the Belarusian-Chinese Research Center Belt & Road (of the Systemic Analysis and Strategic Research Center of the National Academy of Sciences of Belarus). At the same time, he stressed that there is no clear proof of this.

As for the amount of media hype surrounding the coronavirus, Vadim Sugak explained that such topics always cause a lot of interest among the public.

The coronavirus became so popular in the media because it was unknown from the start where it came from and how to cure it

Yulia Abukhovich, a Senior Lecturer of the International Relations Department at the Academy of Public Administration under the aegis of Belarus President, expressed the same opinion.

She believes that the situation with the coronavirus is developing spontaneously.

“The fears are exaggerated and are presented in a certain way. If the global community behaved in a different way the situation could have taken another turn,” she added.